Dennis Loranger reading at Borderlands: Poetry on the Edge

Dennis Loranger teaches music and literature at Wright State University, and writes poetry when he gets a chance. He has published in Rubbertop Review, Abyss&Apex, and elsewhere.

Borderlands: Poetry on the Edge is a monthly poetry reading hosted by Main Street Books in Mansfield, Ohio. The reading is curated by Mark Sebastian Jordan. Each month he invites two poets from across Ohio and the surrounding states to give extended readings followed by a short open mic.

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The Brown Sound: An Unbridled Culture

by Nick Gardner

“Unbridled.” Aurelio has used this word quite a few times in our conversations and he always lets it linger. It rolls off the tongue like wild horses in empty green pastures or drinking deep, cool water in wild-west arroyos. It is a word that opens a door, opens an entire building. It breaks down barriers. It is a word best defined by a feeling. It is what The Brown Sound is all about.

At Castle David one expects to see ghosts. On the corner of Sturges Avenue and 1st Street the mid 1800s Victorian Style house, turned thrift store, sits with strobe lights going off in the windows. The feel is more house party than public show and friends stand in groups sipping beer and talking fervently about music, art, and sex. Nick Harris, picks up a guitar and sings his new song for a couple of his friends. Conversation stops and all attention goes to this guitarist. He is white. He is not on the bill, but it’s the kind of place where no one would keep good music from happening. His song brings attentive silence followed by loud hoots and applause.

Jerry Lang — There is a disembodiment that comes from his soliloquy

Jerry Lang takes the stage which consists of little more than an amp, a mic, and a PA in the corner of the main room. This is his first official performance, but he looks calm. The lights are dim and people line the walls and doorways or sit in antique chairs in the corners. Jerry begins to play his first song and the music is both haunting and alive. The reverb-heavy acoustic guitar embodies the bold regret and loneliness of the lyrics. His tenor voice blurs some words in the amplified distortion, but the emotion of the song is indisputable and ubiquitous. It is not your average singer/songwriter lamentation of lost love and alcoholism. This is no Elliot Smith or Conor Oberst, no David Bazaan. Though the lyrics may lead you toward this strain of thought, they bear an enlightened tone. The lyrics evoke Bill Burroughs, Allen Ginsburg, and Rimbaud. There is a disembodiment that comes from his soliloquy. It is personal enough to make it almost awkward, but through that tone and the words we all feel his redemption. His sorrows embracing our sorrows and coming to new terms with meaning versus meaninglessness. It’s difficult to say too much about Jerry Lang’s music in more concrete terms. It is a feeling and it is poetry. Continue reading