In Joseph Noble’s Antiphonal Airs, the reader perceives form meeting form, each shaping and naming the other in “aural geometries” that are simultaneously “recognizable and strange/at the rim of/summoning and leaving.” Noble’s keen ear certainly endows the language of these poems with lyricism and lushness, but below that enticing surface are patterns “silent and/only seen/erased and/only heard.” Such confusion of pattern, Noble reveals, makes possible the genesis of new meaning, new form. This he discloses through the attention and responsiveness that the antiphon of his title suggests. These poems make us aware of correspondences flourishing in interchanges that are no less powerful for their ephemerality: “sound at the edge/ of note and naught.”
A sumptuous collection by poet-musician Joseph Noble. The certainty of his pitch & intonation reveals a distinct tender voice. Measured, graceful, his work sustains its depth throughout. The first section on “early music” is revelatory in its range & insight. Rich in historical acumen, musical heart, Antiphonal Airs is an impressive body of work.
Antiphonal Airs at Skylight Press
Review of Antiphonal Airs by Chris Moran on HTML Giant
Review of Antiphonal Airs, Songs from the Astral Bestiary by Tiff Dressen, and rendezvous by Todd Melicker, by Patrick Dunagan at Your Impossible Voice
AN IVES SET
In An Ives Set, Joseph Noble has composed an intricate musical vision, a tribute to Ives, and a dedication to the dynamic nature of sound. This is emphatic, affirming verse, in which the place of song affords freedom to reconstruct meaning. Noble misses no subtlety in the unpredictable life of utterance. Here we find precise notational amblings, where “a tone is/ all.” Noble delves aptly into sound on the level of the word to consider “subway, soundway,” aware of “breadth and breath” with a delightful fluidity which does not shy away from the urban modernity surrounding birdsong. Perhaps most pleasing of all is the embedded notion that “listening is also a part of/ the unknowable we know.” This is a book which listens adroitly and reminds us that hearing is also a re-framing, a reconfiguring of residence and a paradoxical profound mode of address.
Noble has somehow tinkered a radio out of words, and tuned it to receive transmissions from a lost paradise of music. Yet Noble’s line is listening, not to sound alone, but to pure pattern. Here, writing itself is graphically recast as a rhythmics of perception. By tapping into and upon the head of the ex-centric American composer Ives, Noble’s poetry retrieves and retries the truth of a voice in resistance to its own (social as well as sonic) medium. And like the composer whose work is posed and recomposed in this work, Noble is an American original.
An Ives Set at Small Press Distribution