Saturday, May 01, 2010

Secret Influences 4: Gentlemen

Ok, it's probably not that secret, as I reference Greg Dulli in Double Helix, and the line "I'm a gentle gentile man," from Torontology, is my homophonic take on the title of the Afghan Whigs' fourth album.

But still, Gentlemen, although released in 1993, was really the secret soundtrack to my poetic composition in the late summer of 2001, a time I was dealing with the turmoil of a romantic break-up and struggling to control several addictions.

Gentlemen helped provide the catharsis that I needed to move from the emotionally-sprawling, and somewhat cavalier imagery of my first two poetry collections, to the more politically-aware and formally-controlled poetics of American Standard/ Canada Dry. So one might consider Gentlemen the transitional intertext from my poems composed in the 1990s to those written in the new millennium.

Thanks to one of the most unsettling album covers of all time, and tracks such as "What Jail is Really Like" and "Fountain and Fairfax", Gentlemen also convinced me that any residual adolescent conceptions of masculinity and neo-Romantic notions of what a male poet should be needed to be re-examined and transcended--something I've continued to work at doing for the last decade.

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