Storyteller Series: NOVEMBER GALES
Book Suey will be remembering the shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, on the 44th anniversary weekend of the loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
2p - Cindy Hunter Morgan reads from her collection, Harborless
3:30p - Phil Leslie performs traditional working songs or 'sea shanties'
4:30p - Lee Murdock will play an acoustic set of classic maritime ballads
There will also be Great Lakes and Edmund Fitzgerald activities between performances.
Lee Murdock's performance at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum is sold out, this will be your only chance to see him while he's here in Michigan!
Lee's music is grounded in the work song tradition, from the rugged days of lumberjacks and wooden sailing schooners. Murdock comes alongside with ballads of contemporary commerce and revelry in the grand folk style. Lee's fans have discovered a sweetwater treasure in his songs about the Great Lakes, finding drama and inspiration in the lives of sailors and fishermen, lighthouse keepers, ghosts, shipwrecks, outlaws and everyday heroes.
With a deeper understanding of the folk process, Lee's repertoire combines historical research and contemporary insights. Making folk music for the modern era, Lee Murdock's work is a documentary and also an anthem to the people who live, work, learn and play along the shores of the Great Lakes today.
Harborless, a collection of poems informed by Great Lakes shipwrecks, is part history and part reinvention. The poems explore tragic wrecks in rivers and lakes, finding and forming artistic meaning from destruction and death. Each poem begins in a real, historical moment that Cindy Hunter Morgan transforms into an imagined truth. The imaginative element is essential to this work as it provides a previously unseen glimpse into the lives affected by shipwrecks. The poems in Harborless confront the mysteries surrounding the objects that cover the floor of the Great Lakes by both deepening our understanding of the unknown and teaching great empathy for a life most of us will never know.
Morgan creates a melodic and eerie scene for each poem, memorializing ships through lines such as, "Fishermen wondered why they caught Balsam and Spruce / their nets full of forests, not fish," and "They touched places light could not reach." Most of the poems are titled after the name of a ship, the year of the wreck, and the lake in which the ship met disaster. The book’s time frame spans from wrecks that precede the Civil War to those involving modern ore carriers. Throughout this collection are six "Deckhand" poems, which give face to a fully imagined deckhand and offer a character for the reader to follow, someone who appears and reappears, surfacing even after others have drowned. Who and what is left behind in this collection speaks to finality and death and "things made for dying." Very little is known when a ship sinks other than the obvious: there was a collision, a fire, a storm, or an explosion. Hunter works to fill in these gaps and to keep these stories alive with profound thoughtfulness and insight.
Tony Hoagland said that one of the powers of poetry is to locate and assert value. This collection accomplishes that task through history and imagination, producing lake lore that will speak to historians and those interested in ships, poetry, and the Great Lakes.
Phil Leslie is a favorite storyteller here in Hamtramck, and will be sharing maritime songs, tales, and whatever else he has up his sleeve!
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