Joseph Noble



AntiphonalAirs400Antiphonal Airs
by Joseph Noble
Skylight Press, 2013
124 pages / $15.99 Buy from Skylight Press or Amazon







 “What is wonderful about music is that it helps man to concentrate or meditate independently of thought. Therefore music seems to be the bridge over the gulf between the form and the formless. If there is anything intelligent, effective, and at the same time formless, it is music.” — Hazrat Inayat Khan, “Spiritual Attainment by the Aid of Music”


“One must side with Brahms or with the sun.” — E.M. Cioran, All Gall Is Divided


Antiphonal Airs interacts with the musical vibration of “transforming what is unseen into what is heard / what is unheard into what is imagined.” These grandiloquent gestures soar through entirely agreeable intonations, creating an excellent sensory experience. Here the music of poetry is refracted through early Italian Baroque music. Noble explores little-known yet magnificent composers, such as Nicola Matteis, Marco Uccellini, Giovanni Legrenzi, and Sigismondo D’India, to name just a few. As a classical music lover, this is pure delight.

On the similarities between poetry and music, Noble writes, “they both use sound, both take place in time, both seem to move with a fluidity of association at times, both have a sensual dimension to them, both can be an outcry or a whisper and everything between, are articulations of vibrating air, and both are avenues of enlightenment.” Antiphonal Airs is full of rich and vibrant poems, their lyrical nature echoing and reflecting the work of master composers.

air forgets its name
(water upon the sun)a fever fingers syllables
(ink spilling its reins)

harp in the street
(who turns the sun?)

song wheel in the iris
(swallow dilating sleep)

river flings itself into its reflection
(drum collides with the wind)

air is shaping the ear
(map on the tympanum)

angel climbs through the arm
(which finch in the ankle?)”


August 16th, 2013 / 11:00 am