I mentioned in a previous post that The Crossing’s recording of Kile Smith’s “The Arc in the Sky,” a choral composition based on Lax’s poems and other writings, was up for a Grammy this year. Unfortunately, it didn’t win. But the Italian online magazine Vengodalmare has a piece on Lax inspired by Smith’s composition. The piece is in Italian, but it includes several Lax poems in English: “Jerusalem” and “so bird, so spirit…” along with selections from “sea & sky.”
If you scroll down below the “sea & sky” excerpt, you’ll find a short video of a Los Angeles group performing part of Smith’s work.
I received a message this past week from a man named Edouard Jeunet, who said he’d found an old cassette of Robert Lax reading his “Sea & Sky” and “Black & White” poems in Italy in 1978 and uploaded a digital version to the Internet. I passed the message on to Lax’s niece and literary executor, Marcia Kelly, and she asked some of Lax’s old friends if they knew of it. Judy Emery, who knew Lax for decades and edited a couple of his books, sent the following reply: “I thought this tape had been lost. It was not made in Italy but right here in New York in September 1974. Three people: Emil Antonucci, Robert Wolf (nee Kachnowski) and Bob Lax spent an entire day recording Sea & Sky and other Lax poems.”
Here’s a link to the digital version. The first voice you hear is Robert Lax; the second voice is Robert Wolf. The recording copyright belongs to the Robert Lax Literary Trust.
The following appeared a few days ago on a blog called Golgonooza, run by Nicholas Colloff, who wrote the review. You can access Nicholas’s blog at: http://ncolloff.blogspot.com/2015/10/pure-act.html.