Saturday, April 23, 2011
That Angelin' Tune
We must call out to Mr. Ariel S. Winter, librarian of the outtaprint, for pulling together in exquisite detail Langston's 50s children's projects, capturing the language, pictures and sound all together. When we read Langston, we need to keep in mind the care he put into the midcentury multimedia , the same way we keep in mind Langston's recurring efforts w/ opera and musical theatre. More than, say, Charles Olson, who's muse was the typewriter (see "Projective Verse"), or Ralph Ellison, who struggled with the demon word, page after burnt up page, Langston's was a multimedia artist.
He sought the beautiful book, w/ beautiful illustrations. He loved illustrators. Throughout his life he was trying to combinate his words into music, and not just because he could hit the number that would make it rain royalty money on him (tho" that always helped). As we have remarked before, this is like Louis Armstrong and the movies, the collage and the broadway play. It is a series of aesthetic choices as much as it is a series of economic choices, and we as readers should take it as such.