Ephram Pratt Distances Himself from Sound

Color the
soft voices

a violet or
maybe a shade

not yet discovered,
a nuance

of sound
emanating from

Picasso’s pallet,
or from the voice

of Warhol
as he shudders

in silence,
hiding from himself

and the voices
he hears

arising from
a banana rotting

in silence,
a token of despair.

Jack e Lorts

What is the significance of this work to you?

This poem written to express the way I want my poems, particularly my recent “Ephram Pratt” poems, to reflect my underlying interest in the all other arts. They are all one. An intense interest in surrealism, through Dali, is where Ephram & I first encountered one another. Picasso arches over all contemporary art. With Warhol, we view his rotting banana. And all are part of what I perceive as a sound we hear, but one that is rarely considered part of the art. Words, sounds, visual, graphic & plastic. All are one.

What is the significance of the form you chose for this work?

When I first encountered Ephram, I believe it was in 2007, the poem we were in was a twenty-two line poem, a series of unrhymed couplets. Since that time we have produced over 900 poems using that form, with lengths varying from 18 to 26 lines, with the exception of one sestina and one villanelle. It has given form & structure that Ephram & I can relax in; over 150 of such poem have appeared in magazines or online.

What was your process for creating this work?

In the Notes to my “The Love Songs of Ephram Pratt” I mention that Ephram & I write about things we know a lot about, and things we know nothing about, often things I myself would feel somewhat uncomfortable dealing with alone. We believe in stream of conscientiousness, Kerouac’s spontaneous prose and in Andre Breton’s automatic writing. “Ephram Pratt Distances Himself from Sound” was created out of that milieu.

Jack e Lorts lives in rural eastern Oregon and has appeared widely, if infrequently over the past 50+ years in such places as Arizona Quarterly, Kansas Quarterly, English Journal (in earlier times) and more recently online, such places as Haggard and Halloo, Locust, The Poetry Village X4X (of Northern Ireland), Chiron Review, Phantom Drift, etc. His most recent book was “The Love Songs of Ephram Pratt” from Uttered Chaos Press in 2019.

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