Poet : Ira Beryl Brukner
Publisher : Counter Culture Chronicles
Year : 2019
Language : English
Recording lifted from the archives of Harry Hoogstraten
The cassette comes with a laser-printed insert by Harry Hoogstraten
Limited edition of 80
Postage & packing not included
Ira Beryl Brukner (1948-2015) was born in Jacksonville, Florida and studied literature at the University of Florida before relocating to Jerusalem to study at Hebrew University. Back in the US, he travelled extensively and finally settled in New York, where the first publications of his poetry helped him find various positions as a poetry teacher. Around 1984 Brukner contacted Dutch poet Harry Hoogstraten and wrote: “Hi, I am a great poet from New York, coming to Amsterdam and available for readings”. Hoogstraten intuitively took this piece of self-aggrandizement at face-value and helped set up a number of readings in Holland. Brukner and Hoogstraten hit it off and hung out for a whole year in the Dutch capital. “Ira was a passionate and wild guy with Armenian roots”, remembers Hoogstraten, from whose archives a recording of Brukner reading his poem Questions has been lifted and released on cassette by Counter Culture Chronicles. It’s the only recording of Brukner’s opus magnum, CCC adds on the J-card of the cassette, which also contains a laser-printed insert with a short explanatory note in Hoogstraten’s handwriting.
Brukner’s poem Questions is a collection of 1,000 questions, which he used to read from a scroll while wearing a tie made from flip-tops. ‘Is there a Christ on your perspective?’, ‘Are you out of your element?’, ‘Do you make love with yourself?’, ‘Are you spread-eagled to the sky?’, ‘Are you nervous on the verge of virginity?’. The CCC cassette documents Brukner’s ecstatic reading of his crossfire of questions to the accompaniment of minimal but frantic piano music. Brukner’s inquisitive and humorous bombardment leaves no stone unturned and is aimed at every Jericho wall of certainty. It leaves the listener energized but bewildered. What is this? Who am I? Where? What for?
Later in life Brukner, no longer finding inspiration to write poetry, turned to painting, which he described as a magical process leading to ecstatic surprises. His colourful abstract expresisonist paintings were shown on several occasions before he died in Yellow Springs, Ohio in 2015.