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private17 011Here is a recent addition to our record album cover collection. This time it is Vachel Lindsay Poetry (1879-1931). He was a poet unknown to me before acquiring the album.

Is it a kind of blasphemy to admit that you do not care about rhyme, stanzas, or formal rules painfully dictated by some master of the word?

Is there anything more powerful than hearing a poet reading his own assembly of words or hearing a dictator playing with words and phrases showing the naked expression of ruthless intent?

Is there anything more satisfactory than hearing the human voice with the inflections and intonations such as the baby’s laugh?

Would you dare to physically exhaust yourself exclaiming your own poetry like Vachel does in the picture on the cover? I discovered the possible reason for the stance in the picture!

Vachel was known as the “father of Singing Poetry” meaning his verses had to be sung or chanted in order to be truly “heard“. In his correspondence with the poet Yeats, he revives the idea of the ancient Greeks who expressed musical qualities in their poetry. Traveling widely throughout the country, he became known as the exclaiming bard and his famous poem “The Congo” opened the doors to a nationwide success. Listen and watch this video of Vachel reciting his poem “The Congo”.

In the difficult days of the teens and twenties, his advocacy for better race relations and support of Afro-Americans earned him deserving kudos from fellow poets. Want to know more? Follow this Poetry Foundation link.

private17 013Fortunately inside, was a small booklet, not published by Caedmon, describing the house in Springfield, Illinois where he lived, worked and died.