I was a bit surprised to receive the latest issue of Gargoyle – usually a three-pounder publication – in a small, square envelope weighing about an ounce. You guessed it – Gargoyle 52 is a CD version. Personally, I’m psyched about it. I’m a big fan of audio these days, since time to read anything other than the stacks of student papers piling up is out of the question. However, there are inherent risks with listening to literature – poor recording quality, writers who are good writers but bad readers (painfully bad sometimes), bad/annoying/distracting background music (usually played by the ________ [fill in relationship] of a friend who just couldn’t be denied), and works that are recorded but really would be better read silently in the privacy of one’s own gray matter.
Alas, fear not. With Peabody at the helm, Gargoyle 52 succeeds in taking on these risks. The CD includes groovy music w/lyrics, readings with “poet’s voice” (aka no inflections), readings with inflections, some with playful vocal characterizations, readings with sound effects, some true spoken word and music (nearly a lost art these days), and readings with tempos and rhythms that never – never – would have surfaced in this gray matter, but that have made all the difference.
Still, I’m a bit of a hog – it would have been nice to have the liner notes include the words. I’m still a strongly visual learner – I want to see it just as much as I want to hear it. Need to see it in some cases. But then, I guess we’d be back to a three-pounder with a CD accompaniment, and that may well defeat the effort here.
Gargoyle 52 features Cravin’ Dogs, Silvana Straw, Brigitte Diane Knudson, William Levy, Reginald Harris, Mesmer and Passiflora, Miranda Saak, George Kalamaras, Franetta McMillian, KD Rouse and the Sams, Jennifer Cutting, Henry Warwick, Jeffrey Little, Neelam Patel, Jonathan Vaile, Julianna Spallholz, Jillian Ann, Kate Braverman, Thylias Moss, Venus Thrash, David Hernandez.