Thursday, January 8, 2009

Heather Corley's starving spirit is fed upon the heart

This is a little different: I am inviting an artist to a Poetry Scores art invitational with a line of the poem in mind for them.

Artists being artists, I take for granted that Heather Corley will take or leave my suggestion for her, but after visiting her studio this week and getting a strong sense of the idiom of her art (ha! I first wrote "heart"), one line in particular from Les Murray's poem The Sydney Highrise Variations cries out.

As this series of looks at one piece makes clear, Heather Corley has a thing for hearts. To use a word much in vogue when I was in a more academic setting (and she came out of one at The University of Tennesee Knoxville, not so very long ago), her art is all about subverting the conventional image of "hearts and flowers".

Oh, no. This is very much more - as this piece says very clearly - hearts and knives. Hearts and cars that crash and burn. I love this stuff.

So would Les Murray, I predict, if I could afford to buy a piece and ship it to Bunyah, New South Wales, in Australia. The line of his that makes me think he would know where Heather Corley is coming from emerges in a part of the poem that is already scored by Robert Goetz, so I will reference the entire piece of the poem that Goetz set to music.

The title, though drawn verbatim from the poem (as the title of a song in a poetry score must be), is an interpolation upon the flow of the poem - that is, it's repeated here, but not in the original.


“The starving spirit is fed upon the heart”

clearing bombsites for them. They rose like nouveaux accents
and stilled, for a time, the city's conversation.

Their arrival paralleled
the rise of the Consumers
gazing through themselves
at iconoclasms, wines,
Danish Modern ethics.

Little we could love expanded to fill the spaces
of high glazed prosperity. An extensive city
that had long contained the dimensions of heaven and hell
couldn't manage total awe at the buildings of the Joneses.

Their reign coincided
with an updraft of Ideology,
that mood in which the starving
spirit is fed upon the heart.


"That mood in which the starving spirit is fed upon the heart": Take it or leave it, Heather Corley, but somewhere in there I see the title of a new piece you should make for the 2009 Poetry Scores Art Invitational dedicated to The Sydney Highrise Variations.

Details to come!

Free mp3

The starving spirit is fed upon the heart
(Words by Les Murray, music by Robert Goetz)
Performed, produced and recorded by Robert Goetz


This important local artist came to our attention via a group show co-curated by Michael Behle that I reviewed on my personal blog. Thanks to Behle for the hookup.

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