Malm, man of many names, to perform Jan. 25
By Ginny Masullo
TFW Contributing Writer
Ozark Poets and Writers Collective (OPWC) kicks off its 2011 monthly readings at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 25 with the Newton County king of greens, the polemic poet of limericks and sonnets, singer-songwriter, the man of many names, Dave Malm.
Malm, is a monthly OPWC open mic regular who reads under various wordplay alias’s such as Vern Ackler, Lew Scannon, Noah Vail, Lyle Ott, Mack Stout, Joaquin deFlor, Dewey Klappnow, Tad Long, Moe Stovall and Tyrone Schuze.
Conducting his end of the e-mail interview from his Newton County Foothold Farm, Malm says he grew up reading MAD Magazine, which was replete with pun names like Rex Karz and Frieda Travel.
“They’ve always come naturally to me, perhaps because my own name Malm is a mouthful of Swedish consonants in one large, round syllable and was so easily converted to Mom or Mommy by playground punsters.”
Well known around Fayetteville under another alias, Paddy O’Grille, Malm will pepper his reading of limericks and sonnets with his original songs. His tunes come out of many genres, including blues, funk, rock, pop, folk, Celtic and bluegrass. Lately, however, Malm reports he has been “tending to write more old-school country songs — the kind that try to tell sad stories sideways.” Malm elaborates that “while it’s true that 95 percent of country music gives the rest a bad name, the good stuff represents an art form unto itself.”
As Malm hoes weeds or picks greens to sell at the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market he jots down the glimmers that become poems. His work is informed by catching the news on NPR and NBC and perusing The Nation, The New Yorker, Newsweek and The Progressive, as well as the newsletters Washington Spectator and Hightower Lowdown.
Taking the raw data from what he describes as “these generally reliable sources I try to let it simmer, often just below full boil, into some sort of sensible synthesis.” The result is political commentary through a poetic form that often has his audience responding with resonating laughter.
WHAT TIGER WOODS’ FIRST POST-SCANDAL PRESS CONFERENCE MIGHT HAVE SOUNDED LIKE, IF HE HAD THE MORALS AND ETHICS OF GOLDMAN SACHS (OR: “IN YOUR FACE, AMERICA — YOU KNOW YOU ENVY ME!”)
“I don’t feel ‘ashamed’ or ‘contrite’…!
— My wealth and fame gives me the right
to use folks as tools
and write my own rules!…
So, babe — what you doin’ tonight?…”
CONCERNING THE BASIS FOR THE (APPARENT) ELECTORAL POPULARITY OF REPUBLICAN POLICIES (IF NOT THE PARTY ITSELF)
“The Government needn’t regulate, nor spend!”
“Fossil fuels are fine!” “Big Business is your friend!”
“’Global Warming’? — just a hoax!”…
— Seems th’ slogan for these folks
is simpler still than “Hope” — it’s “Let’s Pretend!”
Comparing his political/polemical limericks to the “alternative perspectives that court jesters were hired to provide and were occasionally beheaded for,” Malm’s goal is to “use the ultra-compact limerick form to crystallize a particular irony, absurdity or contradiction in current political and/or cultural events as viewed from a ‘Higher Perspective,’ usually that of evolutionary psychology or (secular) moral philosophy.”
“I read ethologist Desmond Morris’ seminal ‘The Naked Ape’ and ‘The Human Zoo’ while in high school,” Malm says.
Eventually taking his “undergrad degree in anthropology way back in the mid-’70s, Malm declares that he is “glad such thinking is finally catching on, even though it’s led to ‘The Advice Goddess.’”
The Jan. 25 reading at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street begins at 7 p.m. Malm will be preceded and followed by an open mic with a four-minute time limit for each participant.