Collision of jazz and Chinese poetry

The train was late. Or rather, I was late for the train. Work ran later than expected. Missed the 5:45. The street car was running. No mechanical problems like Monday. But a few minutes behind schedule due to a presidential rally.

I decided to skip the street car and walk to the station in order to catch the last train home. There is almost two hours between one train and the other. Walking gave me a chance to find a coffee shop and some time to catch up on reading. The Public Market was on the way, but it tends be loud. And crowded.

Stone Creek Coffee is nice and near the train station. And open until 7 p.m. It displays a nice interior design. But sometimes the atmosphere feels a bit too mod. The baristas are often impertinent. And I feel inelegant when I visit. Maybe I am getting too old to haunt swanky coffee shops. Stone Creek coffee is luxurious. In spite of pretentious barista I bought a cup and then walked to the train station to wait and read a book. It is an autobiography of the Chinese poet Tu Fu. The fact that a book published in the 1930s is still in circulation at a public library is impressive. Also interesting are the translator notes. A few weeks ago I finished reading a recent translation of Li Po poetry. The translator, Seaton, made observations similar to those made nearly 100 years ago by Ayscough and Lowell.

I struggled with one passage in the book as the train station grew loud with passengers arriving from one train and departing on a Greyhound bus. Pulling a mobile device out of my pocket I placed in ear buds and cued up episode 88 of the Discovering Jazz podcast. As I listened I read that one Chinese ideogram may require more than one word to transliterate. Sometimes an entire phrase is used to convey the idea of a single Chinese character. The last train arrived. I boarded. Found a seat. Continued reading. And listening.

The jazz podcast explored absolute pitch. The show host mentioned that Asian languages are tonal. Pronouncing a vowel with one pitch may mean one thing while pronouncing the same vowel with a different pitch provides a different meaning. I experienced that when I visited Japan. But I did not have the knowledge to appreciate it then as I do now.

Reading a dozen pages was all I managed to accomplish before the train stopped at the home station. Thankful to be homeward. Grateful for the travel disruption that mingled American jazz and Chinese poetry into one commute.

The Annual Poetry Marathon is next weekend

The 24th Annual Poetry Marathon Benefit Reading for Milwaukee’s Woodland Pattern Book Center is next weekend, Saturday, January 27, 2018.

The time slot between 9 PM – 10 PM is when I’ll be reading some poetry. Others reading during that segment include: Patrick Branum, Andrew Cantrell, Nick Demske, Dan Godston, Sara Goodman, Marcy Rae Henry, Jennifer Karmin, Kimberly Lyons and Blake Nemec.

Please consider supporting the effort. Contact me for details. Or visit the links provided. Much gratitude!

Thursday Great Lakes blues

Thursday Great Lakes blues

Lake Michigan. Last week. As viewed from the the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Baumgartner Galleria. Glass sculpture.

The Annual Poetry Marathon is just weeks away

Woodland Pattern Book Center, 720 East Locust Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212

The 24th Annual Poetry Marathon Benefit Reading for Milwaukee’s Woodland Pattern Book Center is this Saturday, January 27, 2018.

Five reasons to support the poetry marathon:

  1. over 25,000 small press titles represented
  2. book titles include poetry, chapbooks, fine print materials, broadsides, and multicultural literature
  3. money raised supports Woodland Pattern’s 2018 programming in literature and the arts, including an after school program and youth summer camp
  4. enjoy 15 hours regional poets, writers, and lovers of the arts
  5. 150 poets and writers from Milwaukee and surrounding areas

If those five reasons are not enough, I will be reading during the Annual Poetry Marathon. Please consider supporting the effort. Contact me for details. Or visit the links provided. Much gratitude!

World Peace Tree at Cathedral Square Park

World Peace Tree at Cathedral Square Park

Sunset over East Town

Listening to a recording of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion Aria: “Gebt Mir Meinen Jesum Wieder” while the sun sets over East Town. It is going to be a late Friday night.

The Woodland Pattern Poetry Marathon is this weekend

This is my third year contributing.

Here is a Twitter pic from last year, 2016.

Heather captured some great photos from the 2015 poetry marathon. Those photos are lost somewhere on Facebook. It was the first time I read at Woodland Pattern. And the first time I read along side the best poets in Racine. It was a magical night.

The Annual Poetry Marathon & Benefit at Woodland Pattern, Milwaukee, begins at 10:00AM. $10 donation taken at the door. I will be reading between 4-5PM. I would love to see you there and say “hi” and “thank you.”

Sponsor me by donating $5 or whatever using Woodland Pattern’s PayPal donation button (click here). Any amount helps. Make sure you enter “Matt Mulder” in the space provided for “Reader’s Name.” And thank you for your support!

Woodland Pattern’s 23rd Annual Poetry Marathon & Benefit

%e2%88%9awoodland-pattern-events_269_landscape_image Woodland Pattern celebrates the 23rd Annual Poetry Marathon & Benefit this weekend, January 28, 2017!

Join me and 150 poets as we raise funds for Woodland Pattern’s programming in literature and the arts. Money raised at the poetry marathon funds opportunities such as the Urban Youth Literary Arts Program.

The Annual Poetry Marathon & Benefit at Woodland Pattern, Milwaukee, begins at 10:00AM. $10 donation taken at the door. If you cannot attend, no worries. Sponsor me by donating $5, $10, $20 or more using Woodland Pattern’s PayPal donation button (click here). Any amount helps. Make sure you enter “Matt Mulder” in the space provided for “Reader’s Name.” And thank you for your support!

If you are planning to attend Woodland Pattern’s Annual Poetry Marathon, you may still sponsor me (here). I will be reading between 4-5PM. I would love to see you there and say “hi” and “thank you.”

Should be a great lit-filled weekend event. Hope to see you at Woodland Pattern!

A cold, bright Cathedral Square Park

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The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, full moon (or nearly full moon) rising, and Christmas lights brighten the cold December night.

Afternoon walk


Somedays a walk to the river is a remedy. Amid . . . read more ->