In her latest release of spoken word CD, Rose Virgo gives us a Performance Poetica encompassing "the magnitude of life." The "original" South Side girl, Virgo draws among her experience of poetry, dance, and improv to take us on a timeless journey of the knowledge of one's self and others, which although it may begin on the South Side of Chicago, spirals out to embrace the world in which we live.
Taking "the sacrifice of madness to beauty" as an impromptu poetics, Virgo pays homage to the city by the bay in "San Francisco Saint." Although, San Francisco has inspired much poetry, accompanied by the blues musicianship of Sharkmeat Blue, Virgo gives us a new appreciation of what San Francisco is: "dragon ladies--of beauty like hers --evolve from the American Dream." While incorporating the Beat imagery traditionally associated with San Francisco, Virgo goes further in positing San Francisco as the manifestation of Goddess. That is to say, Virgo's San Francisco becomes personified as a "city/woman like no other," and thus an oracle of Poetic Vision.
"...Every 30 Seconds," a celebration of the birth of a grandson becomes a paean to motherhood, and, ultimately, womanhood, a feminism which "denies not the male but raises him up into existence."
"The Angel," published in Just a South Side Girl: Chicago Stories and other poems," and a staple of Virgo's performances across the country, beseeches an angel which forms part of a church's statuary, to play the golden trumpet she holds near her lips (yet never plays). Like all of Virgo's poetry, this, too, is a "true story." For "The Promise," Virgo is accompanied on the didjeridu by Robert Baker III, "a call to the wild flower in all women, a call to the women in the '90s to build a bridge to the 21st Century."
Perhaps the emotional high point is "Canaryville Spawns Lord of the Dance." Virgo honors the past in this monologue dedicated to her grandfather. Virgo praises "(Grandfather's) reverence for the small things in life," the everyday ordinary connectedness aimed for in Zen philosophy and meditation. Virgo performs this, in part, in brogue and it is perhaps with ironic paradox Grandfather says, "'Tis a privilege to be Irish."
"Spa Lady" and "The Florida Song" take us to the tropics to complete Virgo's tour of her America. It's a trip, which behooves us to share. Always engaging, sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic, Virgo's performance, as well as that of her musical accompanists, is polished and self-assured. This CD, designed with the inner auditory faculties of the listener in mind, fulfills its stated intention as a Performance Poetica which argues for Poetry as a Multimedia Art Form, embracing the Dramatic nuances of Performance, Poet as Creator/Art Maker, raising Language to Spoken Word Song (that is to say, lyrical if not sung, somewhere between Music and Speech). Performance Poetica is a chronicle of generations, and the passage of time, of what it's like to be an American, and in especial, a woman, in the latter half of the 20th Century. Virgo embodies the Pieran soul and her work is the work of healing. Unlike many contemporary productions, which utilize the latest technology yet offer little real content, Performance Poetica not only is state of the art, but an uplift of the human spirit.