Mark Hartenbach | The Sound of Music

click the cover if you are interested in buying this book...

Mark Hartenbach

The Sound Of Music

dedicated to the musicians & those who laid great records on me


Two poets stand out in my mind as carrying a tradition that took root in the Sixties through subsequent decades and into the new millennium. Some call it Meat, some Confessional, but those labels are not big enough to cover this breed of poetry, and so I’ll leave it nameless. It’s a poetry that connects more with the Beats than the Sixties, but stripped of the baggage of ideology and formalized spiritual quest that saddles much of Beat poetry; its language is lean and sharp and drills into everyday life, surfacing with nuggets of uncut truth that melt away if you try to incorporate them into something “bigger”. The Mimeo Revolution was the vehicle that carried this poetry through the Sixties and early Seventies; after that, it was pretty much on its own. The poets I’m talking about are Albert Huffstickler, who died in February of 2002, and Mark Hartenbach, who carries on.

The Sound of Music is somewhat different from Mark’s previous books in that the poems intentionally revolve around a theme-music. Mark is a musician as well as a poet, and a lover of all sorts of music (jazz, blues, classical, country, folk, reggae, pop, etc.); his digs in a small blue-collar town on the Ohio River are cram-packed with stacks of vinyl, tapes and CDs, and one day he got it in his head to play a track off a CD and write down what the music conjured. One track led to another, days bled into weeks, and when the muse finally pulled out, Mark found himself with hundreds of poems, spawned by the music and the musicians he had been listening to and by the memories that the music brought to the surface-decades of memories, a long and hard lifetime’s worth. What’s in this book is a sampling of that marathon undertaking.

In some of these pieces the memories outweigh the music and the writing is pure poetry; in others the music gets the upper hand and the reader is treated to some savvy observations and a treasure chest of behind-the-scenes information; in all cases The Sound of Music is a good read, provided by the carrier of an invisible torch for a poetry and a way of perceiving life that teeters on the brink of extinction. – John Bennett, Ellensburg January 2007

Mark Hartenbach

listening to sun ra’s “secondstar to the right” while striking a match

i’ve pushed my way past clarity
i’m beyond my assumed capabilities
i’m floating over the numbered capacity
i’m a fugitive from the inevitable
wrapped in tin foil, covered with cardboard stars
i’m a sonic facsimile
i’m so obsolete that the world will have to come
all the way back around
before it begins to understand my way of thinking
i’m burning past the rate of amusement
i’m aping the masters with sarcasm
i’m crossing the authorities at every turn
i don’t have a death wish
i’m only venturing past the point of no return
i’m unaware of the precision of time
i’m passing the present with indifference
this is no formula for success
this isn’t a logical move
it’s a jolt of seratonin, dopamine & adrenaline
i’m not interested in any further definitions
i light a fuse & watch it burn
i can’t concern myself
with whether it might explode in my face
or enlighten my biology
if i was concerned
i certainly wouldn’t strike the match
in the first place


1 Comment

Filed under hcolom press

One Response to Mark Hartenbach | The Sound of Music

  1. I adore Marko’s work….and yours, John!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.