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Columbia Event Returns to Roots with Poemsongs

March 17, 2014 - Posted in Palmetto Scene by Tabitha Safdi

Every Wednesday night at Drip in Five Points, the literary take a seat or the stage to soak in some poetry. Al Black created Mind Gravy four years ago to give poets a chance to have their words heard. 

In this video, Cassie Premo Steele, Ph.D. and Susanne Kappler collaborate on a poemsong titled "Blossom." Steele says, "It comes from my forthcoming book called 13, which contains mother-daughter poems. This one is in the voice of a mother to her 13-year-old daughter, encouraging her to be patient in the face of growth."

According to Al Black doing poetry to music is not new, but rather a return to its roots. "The ability to write and print poetry is a very new process; the ability to read was a skill reserved for a few male scribes and this writing was laboriously and only by hand. Poetry and song were intimately intertwined. It was how poetry and ultimately culture was shared by the masses and passed down through millennia."

Steele adds, "Susanne and I have been collaborating on poemsongs for over a year. Our first collaborations were from my last poetry book called Wednesday. It a a very organic process-- we take the poem and turn it into a song by working from our strengths-- Susanne's musical composition and playing, and my rhythm and reading voice."

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