From here in my stereo room, in my day basement ten steps down from my entry hallway, much can seem perfect if I close my eyes and just listen. I’ve all my gear arranged in front of me, across the immaculate, midnight-blue Chinese carpet and against the acoustic-paneled wall opposite where I sit in my leather club chair—an acquisition from Pottery Barn during my middle-aged bachelor days. So much born of savings and sacrifice, but I hardly care, since the sound here is so gorgeous it lifts me out of things into a pure fabric of wonderment, adrift amidst all the sublime wel­ter of notes. I start with piano music in the morning, Mozart or Beethoven concertos performed by the likes of Alfred Brendel or Claudio Arrau, their right-hand runs so liquidinous across the key­board it’s as though a clear water of crystalline singing were run­ning over a streambed of orchestral accompaniment. I glance at the gleaming enameling on my speakers, brows-high, piano-black tow­ers that mirror the inset ceiling lights when I switch them on, and I begin to want to flutter my hands like seabirds barely aloft over a dance line of shorebreak waves and indulge myself in this rapturous sequestration with music all around me.

Garrett Hongo’s ‘The Perfect Sound’ finds poetry in music | Oregon ArtsWatch
Excerpt: The Eugene author, poet and teacher’s new memoir reveals a life continually inspired by the music that accompanied his journey.
Slow-Dancing with 45s
<p>At the age of fourteen, during my last year in junior high school in Gardena, I began to realize that if I were ever to get a date I ’d have to revolutionize my musical point of reference. The faux folk music and light pop I ’d once cherished had to be exchanged for something completely different…

Knopf Poetry

Wild Horses - Literary Matters
from The Perfect Sound: A Memoir in Stereo (Pantheon, 2022) It’s hard for me to explain, but early Dylan, Hot Rocks: 1964-1971 by the Rolling Stones, and the Bartók String Quartets mean the winter I lived with my American girlfriend in a small converted teahouse just outside the inner walls of Zuish…
Keb’ Mo’ and the Resonator Guitar
While surfing the net recently (I was looking at pictures of old guitars and bluesmen), I came across a 2017 video of contemporary blues artists Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ playing a song that I recognized from years past. They strum and pick guitars, passing licks and sharing choruses of the tune, alter…