Ode On Manhattan Avenue, a collection of poems by Primoz Cucnik and Gregor Podlogar, was originally written in collaboration by the two poets during their two-month stay in New York City in 2002 and 2003. Coming to the city from Ljubljana, Slovenia, New York becomes for them a protagonist of happenings, an image of fascination, and a space for movements in language, sound, and sight.
Primoz Cucnik, born in Ljubljana in 1971, has published three books: Two Winters (1999), Rhythm in Hands (2002), and Chords (2004). He translates from Polish, writes literary criticism, and works as an editor for the magazine Literatura.
Gregor Podlogar, born in Ljubljana in 1974, has published poems in various literary magazines in Slovenia and abroad. Aleph Press published his first two collections of poetry, States (1997) and Joy in Vertigo (2002).
Ziga Kariz, who contributed visual artwork for the collection, was born in Ljubljana in 197_. A visual artist working in a number of different media—including painting, photography, installation, video, and digital media—his work was selected for the 2003 Venice Biennale.
These city-inspired poems form the basis for poetry readings by Cucnik and Podlogar in which they create noisy sound environments through which we hear the rough and dynamic sonic material of fifty different voices reading the poems—each voice with a distinct pronunciation, intonation, and style of reading. Everyday noises from the city provide the background to this chorus, resulting in a sound collage that, on the one hand, doesn't stray too far from the texts's conceptual territory and, on the other, dares to sacrifice the language of the poems to the music of a genuine urban sound environment. Through the ears of the city, we hear poetry taking an awkward—and loud—position far removed from the proverbial silence of inaudible readings.