The Poetry Project


Poolside Convo About Your Summer Last Night: On Songs

“Trying to write this Dis/Courses meeting description, a little stoned at the Little Hill Lounge in El Cerrito, California, I’m derailed by the sudden appearance of Prince’s ‘When U Were Mine’ on the jukebox. Because now all I can think about is Prince, and ‘When U Were Mine,’ and Cyndi Lauper’s tremendous cover of same, how I learned it on guitar at my most heartbroken, and how it was just the song I needed to hear right now, but didn’t know that before it came on. I’m not sure what that song means to you, but I’ll never be able to think of this Dis/Courses meeting without remembering the pathos in Prince’s delivery when he sings ‘I never was the kind to make a fuss / when he was there / sleeping in between the two of us.’

The transmission of pop is paradoxical: it’s made for the present, but at its best it’s timeless; it’s a narcotic corporate line item generating billionaires and yet it’s what we fuck to, fall in love to; it’s a soundtrack to the fires of the riot and the banality of the commute; it’s fuel for the club and atmospheric nothingness for the natural wine bar. In this meeting of Dis/Courses we’ll study songs. What they are, how we use them, how they use us. If our poetry tells the story of our lives, however obliquely, is there a soundtrack? How much of our life story has a beat and a bass line? Together, we’ll use the concept of song, as well as actual songs, to create a space of discourse, listening, and, ideally, singing. Bonus points for dancing.

We may read texts and watch video by Sofia Cordova, Kevin Killian, Mimi Thi Nguyen and Golnar Nikpour, Dana Ward, Clyde Woods, and Stephanie Young.”

This Dis/Course meeting will be facilitated by Brandon Brown.