Dancing Shadows of Los Lorcas: An Evening with Federico’s Reincarnations

By Bianca Viňas

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Photo by Bianca Viňa

Three hot cocoas, two coffees and an oolong tea, each one clutched by hands accustomed to ink stains and clacking keyboards. There was a table of writers waiting for a performance that could only be described as “melodic stanzas on stage,” or “poesía viva” (poetry alive). It was the fifth evening of PoemCity here in Montpelier and creatives from all over the community had gathered to listen to Los Lorcas, a band of performers reincarnating the wonder and awe of the legendary poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca. This event was held at Vermont College of Fine Arts’ Café Anna, a writers corner known to many for its warm energy and choice maple lattés.   

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Photo by Bianca Viňas

Poet Partridge Boswell took the small stage and gave a nod to his fellow band members, guitarist Nat Williams and lyricist Peter Money. Recipient of this year’s Edna St. Vincent Millay and Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prizes, Partridge Boswell is the author of Some Far Country, winner of the Grolier Poetry Prize. Boswell is also co-founder to Bookstock: The Green Mountain Festival of Words, as well as a truly gifted musician and songwriter. Before counting to three in a tongue much reminiscent of the titular poet Lorca’s homeland, Fuente Vaqueros (Spain), Boswell asked the audience to pause and marvel at the month long celebration that is PoemCity 2018, joking that “love only gets  one day (Valentine’s Day)… us, a whole month.”

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Los Lorca’s warming up. Photo by Bianca Viňa

The first song brought the Café to a thoughtful and resonant silence, an Andalusian serenade inspired by Lorca’s original poetry. It was followed by a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne, a song that captured the attention of the audience. The people sitting at my table, in a section of the Café facing the college’s frozen basketball court, was taken with the next performance, a melodious version of W.B. Yeats The Lake Isle of Innisfree. The rest of the audience was taken by an indie folk eulogy to Evil Knievel.

Of all the songs dedicated, none were more passionately unified in their inspiration than the original ballads that followed. Produced by the band and performed by Peter Money,

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Peter Money in performance. Photo by Bianca Viňas

these songs represented storytelling and an emotional lyricism that could only be reckoned by all three artists and their individual attention to performance: Boswell’s ocean-like vowel intonation, Williams’ calm out-stare to certain integral notes and Money’s sing-song of dramatized poetry.

Peter Money is both a recognized poet (author of  American Drone: New and Selected Poems, 2013) and editor of Harbor Mountain Press, a not-for-profit publishing house, with more than twenty five publications of poetry. Money is a performer of song and word that is said to have the “chops of range” (Paris Review). This was much recognized by the audience and writers that stared up at him. Money showed an almost eerie connection to the physical and vocal performance of his poetry, animating not only his hands and facial expressions, but the impression he makes on the stage beside him; it was a performance all on its own… one of shadow dancing

Los Lorcas in unity is a marvel that would silence any creative individual to awe, inspiring the quietest observer to reach for each word if they were Federico Lorca himself, meditating on song and poetry mid-stage, arms outstretched.

Hear Los Lorcas play their poetry.

 

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Los Lorcas Trio: Poetry in Concert

On April 10, come enjoy live music in the library! In the spirit of Federico Garcia Lorca—gifted musician, legendary poet and ebullient performer—poets Partridge Boswell and Peter Money, along with guitarist Whit Van Meter, fuse poetry and music in a dynamic interplay, blurring boundaries between spoken word and song while expanding audiences’ experience of live poetry. This video features their appearance at last year’s PoemTown in St. Johnsbury!

Partridge Boswell is this year’s recipient of the Edna St. Vincent Millay Poetry Prize for his poem “Flying Home after the Protest,” and the author of Some Far Country, winner of the Grolier Poetry Prize: “Such desperate beauty in these poems,” remarks Marie Howe, “such rendered and willed surviving. Read this book if you want to remember what poetry can do to us, how it can find words for what can’t be said and shake us by our shoulders until we feel achingly alive again.” His work has recently surfaced in The American Poetry Review, The Gettysburg Review, Green Mountains Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review and Poetry East, as well as on Vermont Public Radio. Lyricist and vocalist of the band The Cows, Boswell is a co-founder of Bookstock: The Green Mountain Festival of Words and teaches at Burlington Writers Workshop.

Poet/editor/teacher Peter Moneys books of poetry include hybrid works such as the prose-poem sequence with Saadi Youssef, To day- minutes only (2004); the poetry/music collaboration Blue Square (2007); Che: A Novella In Three Parts (2010); a book of translations, with Sinan Antoon, of the Arab Modernist Saadi Youssef (2012); and his most recent volume, American Drone (2013), which poet Baron Wormser calls a “full-bore, straight-up, flat-out necessary charge to the poet in these global/electronic times.” His poems have appeared in numerous publications, including in the City Light’s anthology Days I Moved Through Ordinary Sound, as well as on Garrison Keillor’s “The Writer’s Almanac.” Money’s work has also been translated into Spanish in Ultramar Literatura. A student of Allen Ginsberg, he has taught at Lebanon College and the Center for Cartoon Studies.

Musical director/guitarist/composer Whit Van Meter is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and Vermont College of Fine Arts.

7 pm | Kellogg-Hubbard Library, 135 Main Street

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