Light show on City Hall,San Francisco 2010

I’ve re-done this blog post dozens of times. Precision takes practice……..

This visual was made by 4 very expensive projectors from Obscura Digital  tec company during the Black and White Ball last spring. My son, Ammon, works for Obscura. Their technology is mind boggling. Here is the equipment, worth around 2oo grand. Their reputation with light and color is built on edgy modern precision.Obscura's projectors

The book, I was a Dancer, by Jacques d’Amboise is my current favorite read. He tells this story about precision that I love. The set up: he’s teaching 100 kids.  “All one hundred of you have exactly 30 seconds to get out of your chairs and move to the stage. But when you arrive, spread out and hold still. But – no noise, like ghosts.” It doesn’t happen. “They run, yelling and giggling… You failed the test. There was noise and most of you got there too soon… They usually get it the second time.” He congratulates them. “Once the children see that we are having a class of precision, order, and respect, they are relieved. It’s the beginning of dance. Precision and exactness are steps toward  truth.”p. 366.

Precision. In the arts, in life.

an inlayed tile from the Taj Mahal

The Precision of Pain      by Yehuda Amichai/ trans. Chana Bloch
The precision of pain and the blurriness of joy. I'm thinking 

how precise people are when they describe their pain in a doctor's office.

Even those who haven't learned to read and write are precise:

"This one's a throbbing pain, that one's a wrenching pain,

this one gnaws, that one burns, this is a sharp pain

and that––a dull one. Right here. Precisely here,

yes, yes." Joy blurs everything. I've heard people say

after nights of love and feasting, "It was great,

I was in seventh heaven." Even the spaceman who floated

in outer space, tethered to a spaceship, could say only, "Great,

wonderful, I have no words."

The blurriness of joy and the precision of pain — 

I want to describe, with a sharp pain's precision, happiness
and blurry joy. I learned to speak among the pains.
~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~


W.S. Merwin had it about right when he spoke of the insufferable need for precision. He said, “Poetry is like making a joke. If you get one word wrong at the end of a joke, you’ve lost the whole thing.”

Gustave Flaubert had a different way of saying the same thing: “Poetry is as precise a thing as geometry.” Conrad Geller

“What (Emily) Dickenson sought to achieve in poetry was, a mathematical accuracy applied to human “ardor and grief.” “All of Dickenson’s poetry,” comments Helen Vendler, “is an attempt to fix precision… on a maelstrom of emotion.”  Because I could not stop for death –– /He kindly stopped for me––/ The carriage held but just ourselves––/ And immortality… [Emily Dickenson, poem #712].

the late, great DJ AM

I am planning to attend the WCU formalist poetry conference in Pennsylvania the beginning of June. I’m going to study meter with Timothy Steele. Sonnets and Iambic Pentameter. Hard stuff for a poet not in school. <>

Masters of Precision:

DJ AM comes to mind here. Precisely.  He took rhythm and music into another dimension…

In the world of drum rhythm there is the Indian-born Tabla Master, who lives in Marin County, California, Zakir Hussain and the American trap drummer who grew up in Marin, Terry Bozzio.

The wonderful Zakir Hussain is the best in the world at what he does. Here is what some reviewers have said of him: tabla drum master with intricate, continually nuanced rhythms, virtuoso, intuitive player, uses swift, precise, rhythmic articulation... These words are far from the experience. Poetry serves better.

Zakir Hussain

Terry Bozzio is a favorite drummer. I like this description of Terry Bozzio’s drumming by Ryan Baker. <> (commentary on the drum solo in the song, “I will Protect you.”) It’s like the split second lift at the crest of a roller coaster, or the feeling you get just as your parachute catches. The fury is the heart of the solo… Toward the end, when the rhythm simply can’t go any faster, he again creates an illusion that it does by the rate of movement between different instruments, particularly between the snare and those tiny splashes in front of his face.

Terry Bozzio

And I might add, that I have had similar experience listening to Zakir, but you gotta hear it and feel it in your body! Words can only take you so far. But precision can take you further than most anything.

PRECISION. Pay attention to where it shows up in your life. <>  <>  <>