“All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music” Walter Pater famously wrote. While this statement is usually understood in terms of an author’s subconscious intentions, and an artwork’s ability to transcend its form and content, there are some artists who purposefully make their works musical.
This is certainly true of Steve Dalachinsky, and not merely because he is a poet-performer with great jazz chops who often collaborates with musicians. There’s something intrinsically musical about his work: the language, the images, and the structures these images add up to.
Dalachinsky’s best known foray into this methodology is the PEN Award-winning book “The Final Nite & Other Poems: The Complete Notes from a Charles Gayle Notebook 1987-2006” (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2006), a compendium of poetry written while watching saxophonist Charles Gayle perform throughout New York City. He’s explored the genre from other angles since, most recently in two chapbooks, “Mantis: Complete Poems for Cecil Taylor” (Iniquity Press) and “Long Play E.P.: The Complete Evan Parker Poems” (Corrupt Press).