Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Harmonium vs. Harmonium

"There is a man whose work makes most of the rest of us quail" says Hart Crane—on poems from Wallace Stevens's debut, Harmonium.

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"Brilliant. Alarming. Majestic. Bewitching. Gothic. Melancholy. Cryptic. These words and countless more describe Vanessa Carlton's sophomore album 'Harmonium,'" says Amazon reviewer Rudy Palma on Carlton's collection of the same name.

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The similarities are too many to enumerate, so I will leave you to be the judge. Which one of these Harmoniums is the key to unlocking the mysteries that lie past the thresholds of contemporary poetics—that lead off through the cellar door to an underground system of roots and influences which have shaped what we write today?

W. S.: "It is the huge, high harmony that sounds / A little and a little, suddenly, / By means of a separate sense."
V. C.: "Ohh ohh ohh / Ohh ohh ohh / Gotta get a little / Gotta get a little"