Bruce Springsteen, Robert Pinsky et John Wesley Harding célèbrent la pluie du New Jersey

Bruce Springsteen a participé hier soir 6 mai 2010 avec le chanteur John Wesley Harding (alias Wesley Stace) et le poète Robert Pinsky à une soirée du festival WamFest (words and music festival, festival de mots et de musiques) à la Fairleigh Dickinson University de Madison dans le New Jersey.

Ci-dessus, un très beau poster déniché par les amis de Badlands.

La setlist (source : Badlands)
« Jersey Rain: Robert Pinsky and Bruce Springsteen, in Conversation and Performance with John Wesley Harding. »

May 6 2010

1. The River

2. Born To Run

3. The Promised Land

4. Nebraska

5. Darkness On The Edge Of Town

6. Wreck On The Highway

Et voici (en vo) l’article du Star Ledger.

By Peggy McGlone
Star-Ledger staff

Getting on like old friends even though they’d never met, New Jersey giants Robert Pinsky and Bruce Springsteen swapped stories yesterday during an intimate conversation in Madison yesterday, during which they talked about their artistic influences, the creative process and growing old.

The poet and rocker performed and talked for almost two hours on stage at the Dreyfuss Theater, the final event of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Words and Music Festival – known as Wamfest. They sat on stools, Springsteen holding a guitar, Pinsky sometimes with a book or paper, but more often reciting from memory.

Springsteen recited Pinsky’s poems and the poet sang background on a Springsteen song.

Some 400 lucky students and teachers who won the tickets through a lottery sat engrossed, their respectful silence interrupted only occasionally with a cry of « BRUUUUUCE. »

Both born in the same Long Branch hospital – Pinsky in 1940, Springsteen in ’49 – the artists answered questions posed by the event’s host, singer-songwriter John Wesley Harding (also a published novelist who writes under his given name, Wesley Stace). Moving seamlessly from song to story to poem, the event emphasized the music of Pinsky’s words and the poetry of Springsteen’s song.

They talked about their early Jersey influences (Pinsky said William Carlos Williams, Springsteen, Frank Sinatra. Both said Allen Ginsberg.) and tried to explain how they create their poems and songs.

« For me, it’s an awful lot like noodling at the piano, playing with colors, except it’s syllables » said Pinsky, former U.S. poet laureate, author, translator and passionate advocate for poetry. « I write with my voice. My voice box is my writing instrument. »

« It’s very sensual, » Springsteen said.

« Yes, and intimate, » Pinsky said.

Wamfest was created in 2008 by David Daniel, director of FDU’s creative writing program and a poet himself. He wanted to break down the divisions between high and low art by bringing together poets, novelists and musicians to talk about creative writing.

The festival has featured Rosanne Cash, filmmaker Eugene Mirman and authors David Gates, Lynn Lurie, Rick Moody and Dave Marsh. The 2010 festival began last month with writers Thomas E. Kennedy and Peter Carey and continued this week with conversations and music from punk rockers John Doe and Exene Cervenka, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon and Mirman.

Billed as « Jersey Rain, » yesterday’s conversation showcased the similarities between the artists. Springsteen strummed his guitar as Pinsky recited « Shirt, » a piece about sweatshop workers. As Pinsky finished, the rocker segued into « The River. » Earlier, Springsteen recited Pinsky’s « Samurai Song » before singing his own « Darkness on the Edge of Town. »

« You react to your own history; you can’t help it, » Springsteen said of the themes he returns to again and again. « I react to what I’ve done previously. I reject it and criticize it … and that pushes your work forward.

« You throw out the questions, and then you try to answer them, » he said. « Good artists are always trying to ask the right questions. »

They read part of « Jersey Rain » together – the first Pinsky poem Springsteen said he ever read. « Patti brought it home, » Springsteen said of the 2000 collection. « I said ‘Who’s this guy writing about Jersey? Competitive instincts, y’know. »

The pair talked about growing old and how their careers, at four decades and counting, affect their writing.

« The issues stay the same, but the material is always new because new things are always happening to you, » Pinsky said. A friend’s death, he said, has changed the landscape. « I perceive time differently. I’m at that age. »

« I, on the other hand,  » interjected Springsteen, « believe I’m immortal so I’m not worried about those things. »

They also offered encouragement to the students, telling them they had to chase that « raw enthusiasm » as Springsteen described it.

« Get out there, be hungry, » he said, adding that they shouldn’t be too concerned with plans. After all, both of them are on their second jobs, he said.

« I was going to be a writer, and he was going to be a musician, » Springsteen said, smiling at the poet. « These are our fallback positions. »

Now near the end of the middle stretch of road
What have I learned? Some earthly wiles. An art.
That often I cannot tell good fortune from bad,
That once had seemed so easy to tell apart.

The source of art and woe aslant in wind
Dissolves or nourishes everything it touches.
What roadbank gullies and ruts it doesn’t mend
It carves the deeper, boiling tawny in ditches.

It spends itself regardless into the ocean.
It stains and scours and makes things dark or bright:
Sweat of the moon, a shroud of benediction,
The chilly liquefaction of day to night,

The Jersey rain, my rain, soaks all as one:
It smites Metuchen, Rahway, Saddle River,
Fair Haven, Newark, Little Silver, Bayonne.
I feel it churning even in fair weather

To craze distinction, dry the same as wet.
In ripples of heat the August drought still feeds
Vapors in the sky that swell to smite the state —
The Jersey rain, my rain, in streams and beads

Of indissoluble grudge and aspiration:
Original milk, replenisher of grief,
Descending destroyer, arrowed source of passion,
Silver and black, executioner, font of life.

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