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September 28, 2007

Note Books - Nick Campbell (Arizona)

The Note Books series features musicians discussing their literary side. Past contributors have included John Darnielle, John Vanderslice, and many others.

Arizona makes brilliant folk-pop layered in textures. The band's debut album, Welcome Back Dear Children, always finds its way back into my playlists, usually at the end of a long day when I finally settle down on the front porch with my wife, my dog, and a cold iced tea.

Free and legal mp3 download from the band:

"Away" [mp3] from Welcome Back Dear Children

In his own words, here is the Note Books entry from Nick Campbell of Arizona:

poet necati cumali's "At the Inquest". i love a poem that makes me feel nature. i've been a city liver for a large part of my life, and it has made me romanticize the life outside concrete. when i hear words like dewdrops and lines like "Fresh blues bloomed into the sky", a connection appears in my brain that is often dormant, one that tickles the back of my nose and makes hair rise in a good way. growing up in ohio i had occasional vacations with nature... climbing up creeks after floods, picking berries, campfires near friend-built cabins in dogwood forests, etc. just enough to give me a true love for the feeling of it. here, characters describe their lives through their front yards, the smell of their flowers, and the larger story revolves around farming - wonderful earthy things.

the story-line is one that most of us would not relate to (creating the intriguing alien-ness that pulls deeper). broken into segments, each segment is an individual or group's reaction to a murder (retaliatory) in their peaceful farming community. the language of the poem and the setting relax the mind in such a way though, that the murder becomes de-horrored and exists as part of the natural flow. two segments focus on the dismayed and depressed wives (of the murderer and murdered). but these segments are surrounded by less involved connections. the men of the village shame both parties equally (the murdered had plowed 1/16 of an acre into the murderer's land). the women of the village speak of the shadow cast over their surroundings by the morning's event.

and something about it feels a bit ancient. everything becomes ancient eventually, and so i like things that seem ancient upon arrival. hunters' jackets and the color auburn, the mention of poplars in the poem, sad-strong wives and a tree in a field between mountains and sea, the epic nature of the murder over something so seemingly small. i don't know why, but to my mind it's all old scotch bottles in grandma's cabinet. cigarettes are mentioned at one point, and that did break the illusion of this happening alongside the Iliad (though they did smoke stuff back then) - but I suppose the gun in the story also broke that illusion - it can't all be a dream. and maybe i'm idealizing the poem and missing some reality in it. but for whatever reason, it immediately attracted me.

poet ilhan berk's "Never Did I See Such Loves Nor Such Separations". i'm also a sucker for love stories, and for good effects in movies. if this poem were a movie it would be a chick flick starring hugh grant, except he has the ability to do mental stuff like in The Cell.

expanding meadows in his head, and roses grow by a hand touching the earth. there is a gazelle that goes to drink at each thought of love. and one green olive connected to a blue piece of sea.

for a long title, it's a short poem, and so there's not much more to say about it. it made me feel good.

Arizona links:

the band's website
the band's MySpace page

Sharp Things posts at Largehearted Boy
The Sharp Things tracks at Hype Machine

also at Largehearted Boy:

Previous Note Books submissions (musicians discuss literature)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews
directors and actors discuss their film's soundtracks
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2007 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2006 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2005 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2004 Edition)


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