The Farrar, Straus and Giroux Poetry Blog

April 02, 2008

The Only Golden Ring Time

Gulf_music_2 One of the best things about last-year's Paul Muldoon ringtone is how a lot of readers weren't really sure how to take it--was it serious, or were we having fun with the idea of what poetry is? Perhaps I needed to present it with a bit more light heartedness (I knew I should have taken video of the hilarity that ensued when the ring was played for FSG employees, bloggers, and my mom).

Because the cool thing, I think, about the oxymoronic idea of a poetry ringtone is that it's playful, it's silly, and it clearly comes from a poet who takes his work seriously enough to have a little fun with it.

Which is why I'm so pleased that Robert Pinsky recorded this year's downloadable poetry ringtone. Pinsky, who has appeared on The Simpsons, The Colbert Report, and at The White House (yes, the real one), references the joy of reading aloud in this exclusive, downloadable ringtone that I expect to be all the rage .

This ringtone calls to my mind the title poem of Gulf Music, which forced me to read it aloud to myself--on the subway, no less!--with lines like

Mallah walla tella bella. Trah mah trah-la, la-la-la, Mah la belle.

Ippa Fano wanna bella, wella-wah.

Fair enough, the subject matter of Gulf Music and the idea behind this ringtone couldn't be further apart. But they're both the same in a way, they're both about listening and hearing language spoken aloud.

But enough from me--listen to Pinsky speak it for yourself, maybe download it for your April ringtone. And after the jump, some video of his latest television appearance.

More from FSG Poetry at Myxer

Pinsky on the Colbert Report:


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I like the ring. Audibility might be an issue, but maybe that goes with its air of laid-back whimsy.

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