Before we get into our review of All of You on the Good Earth, Ernest Hilbert's upcoming book, I would like to take a look at a new work of art coming out of his last book, Sixty Sonnets.
This work of art is the amazing and innovative Elegies and Laments, a spoken-word & music album.
I was lucky enough to hear an advanced release of Elegies and Laments this summer. The music is variegated and fascinating, by turns vicious and lovely. The readings could perhaps be even more forceful but they're head and shoulders above the stereotypical mumbly poet crud we get at most readings. They're also better than the average audio-book fare. "Satires and Observations," which is linked to on the pre-order page, is one that remained in my mind long after my preview.
When I first heard Elegies and Laments, I had just finished my own audio book for With Rough Gods. Originally the audio book was a mere audio performance of the poems, studio recorded and pressed on some CDs I had made for a reading prior to the book's release. After Elegies and Laments, it just wasn't anymore. Unfortunately, when I got the time to put the album together I only had some scratch drum, bass, and guitar tracks and was separated from my band so the album isn't anywhere as near as good as Hilbert's collaboration with a couple dozen artists. In fact, it's not in the same league. But the point is I had to change my audio book in response to Elegies and Laments and that is part of what art should do: change things. Elegies and Laments will change you, too.