NauenThen

Lal! II

May 10, 2018

Tags: Michael Lally

I was honored to be asked to introduce Michael Lally at the Poetry Project last night. Here's what I said:

I love the close harmonies of old country blues singers, in particular brother acts like the Blue Sky Boys, the Louvins, the early Everly Brothers. The way these siblings sing together is sometimes called blood harmony.

In a way, you could think of Michael Lally as being in blood harmony with the whole world—the cops, priests, tough micks, Italians, black girls, actors, poets, musicians he came up with & has loved being around—has loved—his whole life. As he says, someone “caring too much about too much.”

The great thing about Lal is that he has never disowned anything: not a silliness, cockiness, or lapse. He is radically open, & he lays it out in his poetry like a jazz line—which is to say, following every turn in the direction it goes, withou t fear or fences. Reaching the edge & coming back to tell us where he’s been. What some people may see as bragging is him being honest, with crazy courage. “I am myself—the himself / of this life I’m given.”

Here is a man, a poet, doing what a poet ought to be doing: looking at the world with all his attention. Lally carries the bits and pieces of everything he has paid attention to—which is more than almost any poet I can think of—and turns that attentiveness into poetry. Here’s a chance to hear what he’s found out.