Sunday, November 8, 2015

No Turning Back: Poetry in Action from Sarah Blasko

"Eyes of a wolf" by Tina Harvey

"The mind I love must have wild places."

               —Katherine Mansfield

While the Ditty of the Month Club keeps me fairly busy these days, sometimes you get an invitation that you just can't refuse. Today I'm "going wild" at the behest of Irene Latham. Irene is celebrating ten years of blogging at Live Your Poem with a roundup of posts—poems,  pictures, stories, thoughts—on the theme of WILD, her one little word for 2015.

For my own celebratory post, I thought it might be fun to return to a Today's Little Ditty feature that I began when I was new to blogging, but have since gotten away from...

For me, "poetry in action" is any combination of artistic media that demonstrates a shared human experience— creative expressions like music, visual art, and dance that live and breathe in tandem with the written word.

One of the best forums for poetry in action is video. In the past, I've shared music videos by singer-songwriters Diane Birch, Ingrid Michaelson, and Gotye, who I first discovered when I lived in Australia. Today I'm returning to my time down under to bring you another Aussie singer-songwriter by the name of Sarah Blasko.

Sarah Blasko has been described as "an entrancing artist who sings exceptionally well but is bent on making you guess what brews within her heart rather than pouring it out to you" (AllMusic). With a voice that is both haunting and vulnerable, I think that description suits her quite well.

The selection I've chosen for today is a piece called "No Turning Back" from her third album, As Day Follows Night.  Backed by a primal driving beat, the lyrics begin:

I was involved,
Willing or not,
Born in the spark of an eye.
A city on fire,
Is out of control,
I put it down to the match.
                                                         (Read the lyrics in their entirety here.)

But despite this wildfire beginning, "No Turning Back," and most of the songs on this album, are fundamentally about being caught in a love triangle.  What really makes this video "wild" are not the restless lyrics or the raw emotion, so much as the illustrations and concept by Celeste Potter. (Find more of Celeste Potter's animation/video projects here.)

Don't you just love the imagination and wild wanderings? But there's one other reason I chose to share this particular video— because it reminds me of Irene. I can't say that I know why, exactly, but I imagine it has something to do with her adventurous spirit.

There's no turning back, Irene. 
I look forward to watching your career carry on like poetry in action.


  1. What an awesome video! I especially like the whale's gullet with all the skeletal remains. I will definitely look for more of Celeste Potter's illustrations!

  2. Oh wow, Michelle, this is marvelously creative, and definitely wild. I enjoyed the idea of 'no turning back', profoundly shown in the video. Love her finally walking off on her own two feet!

  3. Michelle, I loves this so much! And wait: you lived in Australia?! More more more! I'm drawn to hese words about Sarah Blasko: "making you guess what brews within her heart rather than pouring it out to you." I love a sense of mystery, surprise... and oh, the wildness of that video! So creative and inspiring! Wild wanderings indeed. And I look forward to your career carrying on like poetry action, too, Michelle. THANK YOU! xo

  4. Hey, we get Music Monday from Michelle today! Love the song and video! How perfect for Irene :-)

  5. Ooh, this is cool! Love how the wolf transforms to the figurehead of her boat!

  6. Wow! Wild drumbeats and baseline at the opening of the song drew me in.

  7. Hmm, powerful song and imagery! Loved the transformation her vehicle metaphorically goes through. Thanks for sharing Sarah's music and video with us!

  8. Awesome video! Perfect for Irene's wild theme -- and I can totally see why it reminded you of her adventurous spirit. The opening measures of the song with its driving drumbeats reminds me of the theme song for "Desperate Romantics" -- the BBC series about Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

  9. I adore this song and the video! I think so many of us can relate to the wild spirit revealed here. I love how the wolf charges forward to the beat of the song. Thanks for sharing this, Michelle!

  10. I liked the video and song, but was a little disturbed by it. Not sure why. Maybe because I saw no ending. Or maybe there was an ending of white nothingness. The transformations were good. A tale of life's changes and how we just keep going through it all - for what else is there to do? We make the best of where we are, and go on to the next stages! I'll have to check out her other music.

  11. Finally had time to circle back and watch the video on a real screen, Michelle - it's so strange and wondrous! My fave part is when the girl/wolf face the waves and pause, but then just plunge on in. No turning back. And, of course, love those wolf eyes today! ;0)

  12. What a cool video (well, not always cool with that fire-breathing dragon and flames...) Part of the wild journey reminded me of Philip Pullman's Lyra. Thanks for sharing it!

  13. Michelle, the video is fascinating. It is certainly not what I thought it would be. you're right about the illustrations.They are bright visuals that keeps pace with the beat.

  14. Sarah Blasko & Celeste Potter are a powerful artistic team.

    The penny-farthing at the start with the older style town houses didn't prepare me for the surprises ahead.

    YOU are poetry in action, Michelle. Thank you.