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Book Review: Revolution on Canvas, Volume 2: Poetry from the Indie Music Scene edited by Rich Balling

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I spend a lot of time reading CD liners. I could sit for hours reading lyrics to my favorite songs, so it drives me crazy when an artist doesn’t include them. For me the words are just as powerful as the music that accompanies them. Sometimes you catch other meanings or you can get a clearer picture of whatever the artist is driving at.

While Revolution on Canvas doesn’t come with music, these words are just as powerful without it. From some of the biggest names in indie rock comes a collection of poetry and short stories that range the spectrum of emotion.

In the foreword, Rich Balling, a professional musician, explains how he started this project. “The idea was to contact numerous musicians that I had shared floors and crossed borders with during my years of touring — many of whom had since grown to be extremely popular and had sold hundreds of thousands of records — and gather writing from them.” The result is Revolution on Canvas a collection of “lyrics that had never made it into songs, journal entries, poems, fiction, essays, rants, and even art.”

Balling wanted to make reading more approachable for the masses; and while the examples found in this book aren’t always grammatically correct, they are emotionally moving. From Justin Pierre from Motion City Soundtrack to Luis Dubuc of The Secret Handshake, this book has some great pieces in it. While some are only fair or easily forgotten, still they come from names you recognize and are therefore fascinating, but there are gems contained within these pages as well.

Schuylar Croom from He Is Legend contributed "Letter to a Gypsy" (first stanza page 16):

    Guard your comfort my dear, guard your heart,
    as the sailor takes locks of hair,
    and prisons a piece of cloth or picture.
    The wealthy have overbought and undersold their memories.
    Even if they duplicate your treasures,
    they still will never love them
    for the reasons you have learned to love them.

From Chi Chang of the Deftones comes "Murder, Prostitution and Other Forms of Democracy and the Institution of Marriage" (page 118):

    He had married-his secret mother
    wanting-to be a whore
    they fucked-like they were trying
    to extract the ingredients of
    the horizon, from
    each other- and she could
    swallow-the ocean
    at the mouth-as he tried to push
    the tides-for her- and
    in the time it takes
    for an ocean liner
    to sink- they had only reached
    A fetal shore puberty-still
    madly in love
    years later- he would quietly
    count her- freckles when she slept
    when people ask
    politics- or
    the fucking
    He could reply
    I do-
    you just ain’t hearing

Sal Bossio from Envy on the Coast wrote "My heart is pounding the whole way there" (page 104):

    I arrive in disbelief and can only stare at those buried eyes as
    you scream, “it’s not fair!”
    As I walk further in, you come running towards the stairs.
    Our shoulders touch, I reach across my fingers through your hair.
    Everyone is scattered all dress in black.
    His sister starts to shout, “I want him back, I want him back!”
    Your eyelids shut, you place your head upon me in distress.
    Adrienne, I just can’t stand to see you like this.
    Allow my collar to be the place where you let your tears rest.
    Please don’t worry girl; you know god only takes the best.
    Goodbye, Goodbye. I owe you this much, I’ll be your medication
    Goodbye, Goodbye. I own you this much; I’m a safe addiction.

Those are just some of my favorites. Whether you are a music fan or a poetry fan, you will find something in Revolution on Canvas that speaks to your soul.

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About Katie T. Buglet

  • Carl G. Ferrel

    I recently published my third poetry book. How do I get it considered for review?


    Carl G. Ferrel

  • Katie McNeill

    The person to talk to would be Eric Olsen.

    ‘his e-mail is: Ecolsen2003 AT cs DOT com with book details and the person to be contacted for a review copy. The book will be offered to Blogcritics’ 1,000-plus members, and one will be chosen to review it. They will contact you directly.’

  • red

    just making note that there are little to no female artists in the first volume. Haven’t read the 2nd yet, but perhaps that is something that can be considered, since we are talking about revolutions and all.