In Their Own Words

Liner Notes for Fodder: an LP by Douglas Kearney and Val Jeanty

Douglas Kearney Record

An excerpt from the liner notes to DOUGLAS KEARNEY & VAL JEANTY – FODDER (LP)
By Nick Twemlow

Douglas Kearney is the Non Fungible Token of the poetry world. Invest in his work now, prepare for extreme uncertainty (the best kind). It’s true to me that nobody of his generation is morphing like him/throwing down with every formal constraint he can sing and upend/inventing at this speed—Douglas Kearney is the relentless visionary poet we need right now. Fodder can reckon with you if you are ready for a reckoning.

Thursday, March 11, 2021—1-year birthday (acknowledgment) of the pandemic in the States. Day before, Texas, where I live presently, lifts the mask mandate; businesses allowed to go to 100%. Facebook friend who teaches outside Austin says student who works at local coffee shop told she can’t wear a mask while working. Capitalism is the pandemic. In other news, jury selection began Monday in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former cop who murdered George Floyd. Floyd was a man my little sister and her three boys called an intimate and mentor; for a time, he took good care of my nephews; he was a presence they hadn’t much had before. White supremacy is the pandemic. Why are we still moving through the universe like this?

Maybe Fodder has the answer? Douglas Kearney (forever after DK) sets things up, first words you will hear (imagine DJ Val Jeanty’s (forever after VJ) beats underneath; this is the first track on the album: “Do the Deep Blue Boogie!”): “So, as an avant garde your grill type of writer…of color, I’m often times grappling with questions of, How do I present work in a space that is often times expecting something more in the lines of a popular entertainment, yet I want to introduce people to something more experimental.”

I’m listening and watching online as they intersplice live at Disjecta Contemporary Art Center in Portland, OR on August 9, 2019 while recording this album, which I cannot imagine won’t go down as the most fucking amazing recording to drop in 2021—this is your grill type of poetry album, I toggle back to the video and DK is slaying me with his somatic twitches and jerks and what’s even more intense: VJ is soundtracking all of him moving like this, they are entwined. I can only tell you to do yourself the favor of listening to this album while watching the recording of the live performance.

More In Their Own Words