Poetry Without a Net
HONOLULU, circa 1994 Local jazz guitarist Shoji Ledward asks local writer David Parrish to read some poetry while Shoji plays a gig at Coffee Manoa because "it gets lonely up there by myself." One thing leads to another and I join the madness. We wonder, "is anyone really listening to us, or are we just making it more difficult for them to do their homework? And even if they do want to listen to us, can we be heard above the growls of blenders and espresso machines?" But something keeps us going. We feel we have something here. HONOLULU, circa 1997 Local actor/writer Lopaka Kapanui joins us, and we dub ourselves Poetry Without a Net. Now we have three very different writers with three distinct voices all held together by the amazing music of one of the most talented (and under-appreciated) guitarists in Honolulu. We finally figure out what we have going on; it's not poetry accompanied by music-it's poetry interacting with music. Not unlike what goes on between jazz musicians in a jam session, our performances become conversations between the poets and the guitarist. Shoji's music adds dimensions and nuances to our words that never existed on the page. Through his music, we discover the rhythm in our words and realize that our pauses are as important as the words themselves. Although poetry read to music is noting new, we feel we've stumbled upon something altogether different...the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts---1 plus 1 equals 3! People begin to listen-in coffee houses, bookstores, and on author Glen Grant's radio show, where listeners actually call in and recite their poetry to Shoji's music over the phone! Poetry is a sacred, often difficult artform, but it needn't be locked away in the library or the classroom. There is poetry in all of us, and the magical fingers of a fortysomething Honolulu guitarist have liberated the poetry in three Honolulu working stiffs as they trudge through their early mid-life crises. The purpose of producing this CD was to finally get it right-the sound, that is. Live performances are fun, but we always leave a gig with the feeling that it could have been better. Thanks to the expert hands and ears of sound engineer and Pro-tools wizard Ross Okamura, we finally got it right and on disc. We sincerely hope that listening to Poetry Without a Net liberates the poetry inside of you. Enjoy! --Robert Pennybacker.