“Canopy” by Aaron Martin


I was listening to ambient compositions and blues and roots music on pitchy blown-out thrift store speakers when we first moved to Appalachia, thinking about the haunting resonance of scratched vinyl, cassette tape hiss, layers, melody and harmonies, (re)reading Smithson and Thoreau’s Journal, walking the dirt road into the holler, and hanging out in a junk yard.

It was exhilarating to find Aaron Martin’s first album, Almond, in this climate. His pieces are earnest and material, not transcendental—there’s no escape or abstraction. They know the redemptive value of hands-on experience fucking around with stuff.

“Canopy” patiently introduces layers that thrum in suspension with each other: organ and/or a harmonium, bells, an old toy that features a tired elephant wailing as a pixilated electronic voice repeats “ELEPHANT.” I hear the wet ribbons of strings as they enter, what sounds like a toy drum and (maybe) a toy ukulele with nylon strings as increasingly erratically percussive clusters unsettle the dust and nostalgia that veil childhood’s grace, joy, and losses in order to recognize the whole of experience within the gesture of current. “An elephant never forgets” generationally encoded paths/ patterns of behavior and burial places; an elephant (re)members everything.

-Nathan Hauke

HAUKE author photoNathan Hauke is the author of two full-length collections of poems, Every Living One (forthcoming from Horse Less Press in 2015) and In the Marble of Your Animal Eyes (Publication Studio, 2013); four chapbooks, Pastoral (years later) (Shirt PocketPress, 2013), Honeybabe, Don’t Leave Me Now (Horse Less Press, 2013), S E W N (Horse Less Press, 2011), In the Living Room (Lame House Press, 2010); and a talk about getting a small press off the ground in a rural community, entitled Country Music, that was written in collaboration with his Ark Press co-editor Kirsten Jorgenson and published as a part of the DoubleCross Press Poetics of the Handmade series (2013). His poems, “Deerfield (1)” and “A Surface.  A Shore or Semi-transparency of Glass,” were included in the “Textual Ecologies” section of The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral (Ahsahta Press, 2012); others will be included in the Hick Poetics anthology that Abraham Smith and Shelly Taylor are assembling for Lost Roads Press (2015). He is a poetry editor for Coconut Magazine and co-curates the Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series at Appalachian State University with Kirsten Jorgenson. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Utah.

Questions, compliments, (hopefully not) complaints?

Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.

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