reVerse raVe reViews
reVerse is available from Amazon.com, CDbaby.com and through iTunes
Although the wonderful spoken word/musical fusion of reVerse, Vol. 1 has been out for about a year, I continue to be so impressed with this project that I wanted to give it a quick mention again. The diversity and stylistic catalog of this CD makes it a great choice for music lovers, poetry fans and anyone looking for a unique collection to add to their library.
Caryn Thurman for Literary Kicks: Where Literature Lives Online
"reVerse... begins to show us exactly where words and rhythms have been all along, in poetry."
"reVerse reminds us with its mere existence that poetry belongs between our ears and mouths as well as beneath our fingertips." -- Anne Holub for www.subsystence.com
About.com poetry guide Bob Holman ranks reVerse at #4 in his Top 10 Poetry Picks: The Best CDs of 2004. Leonard Cohen's Dear Heather is #2 and the Lenny Bruce Box Set is #5.
"The production values are excellent and Marvin Tate's piece is a gas." -- Ron Padgett
"It's either poetry that you'll actually enjoy listening to, even if you can't dance to it; a way-hip sonic/linguistic experiment; or an aggressively contemporary rethinking of the relationship between poetry and music. It's relevant and important poetry with a soundtrack." -- Jim Palmer
"If you've got a writer on your shopping list, you should check out the totally cool, and totally cheap poetry and music collaboration titled reVerse." -- Gaper's Block
One of the great assets of (reVerse) is that it contains such a great variety of good poetry, music, and their combination.
-- John Neubauer, PhD, Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Amsterdam
"(reVerse) has given me a new perspective on how poetry, performance and music can intersect." -- Cayrn Thurman, Litkicks.com
"the opening poem, "Echo and Shadow," written and performed by Li-Young Lee, does something remarkable; it reaches inside the listener and grabs hold of something in the chest, and, like a warm hand, it holds that "something" for the duration of the track. You'll have to listen to it to experience what I'm talking about. It is a great poem, and the placement of it at the beginning of ReVerse optimizes the experience of the CD by sucking the listener in to the mood right from the start." -- C.J. Laity, Chicagopoetry.com
Read more reviews here, or take a moment to listen to clips of each piece included on the CD, read about the artists and read about the making of reVerse.
The story of reVerse
In November 2001, I decided to
create a poetry and music compilation CD that was artistic, enjoyable,
high quality and ultimately very listenable. Thinking of the
alternative music CD series from the late 80s called "Just Say Yes",
I thought that a poetry and music CD might help bring some much-needed
attention to the 'alternative' art forms of poetry and songwriting.
I asked Richard Fammerée to help with the project and reVerse was born.
As life-long fans of poetry, we knew creating such a compilation
would be difficult. More often than not, the beauty of poetry does
not translate in recordings of poetry. However, this challenge was
what we most relished. And, as Executive Director of the Poetry Center, I wanted to create an example of how board members of The Poetry Center and other poets and supporters could include The Poetry Center as the charitable cause of their side poetry projects, literary magazines and etc.
In early 2002 I secured an investor for the project, and we started to
approach artists who represented a range of styles and artistic
accomplishment. We believed that featuring a range of emerging and
established poets and musicians was of utmost importance to achieve
our goals. With the exception of finding an accomplished musician
with a weakness for poetry to contribute a performance of an original
poem, the artists roster was complete by the end of the year.
In early 2003, we scheduled time in June at Soma Electronic Music
Studio. Once we got into the studio we worked late into the night.
At the end of four exhilarating but exhausting days, we had eleven
original tracks consisting of several poem-songs, spoken word pieces,
and songs. Our engineer Mikael Jorgensen, who had recently joined
the band Wilco, contributed not only his studio wizardry, but also
his musical talent on a couple of the tracks. We needed one more
day to put the finishing touches on the project, but we decided
to sit on what we had created until fall.
Waiting worked since it allowed us time to find parts of the CD that
were weak. It also allowed us time to search for the right artist
to fill the "established musician with a weakness for poetry" slot,
which we did. October's studio day came. We made the necessary
changes. The CD sounded great. The Cubs were in the playoffs.
We were told the poem from the musician was recorded and ready to go and would arrive any day.
We waited. In December the musician decided to "take a pass" on the
project because of a multi-million dollar deal. Supposedly, there there was no
room for a small charity project in the contract.
In January of 2004 we started from zero to fill the final slot. A
volley of letters of invitation went out. We researched. We called. We faxed. We looked for help anywhere we could get it. We learned about Alexi Murdoch and his gutsy "dedication to the artistic integrity of songwriting." We thought Murdoch would be a perfect addition to reVerse, and so did he.
Then in April, at the arrival of spring Lou Reed signed on with a poem from his play The Raven. On July 2nd, we spent a final half day at Soma with
Tim Iseler as our engineer, since Jorgensen was on tour.
We hope that you will buy a copy of reVerse. It has integrity and
it is entertaining. It might be a little dark at times, but it
is delightfully light-hearted at others. All the moments are
-- KC Clarke