The Anthologist: A Mixtape



  1. COLDPLAY – Viva La Vida
  2. LUDACRIS – Money Maker
  3. RAY LAMONTAGNE – Saved By A Woman
  4. iiO – Rapture (Armin Van Buuren Remix)
  5. HARRY NILSSON – Zombie Jamboree (Back to Back)
  6. RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS – Dani California
  7. ROOT BOY SLIM – Boogie ‘Til You Puke
  8. SLAID CLEAVES – Sinner’s Prayer
  9. SINEAD O’CONNOR – She Moved Through The Fair
  10. THE DAMNWELLS – I Will Keep The Bad Things From You

So what rhyming poems do is they take all these nearby sound curves and remind you that they first existed that way in your brain… We like to visit the parallel sound-studio universe with all these mixing boards and XLR patch cables going here and there, independent of the other part of our head, which is the conscious part that has spent a long time sweating the books and trying to make sense of objects and ideas and meanings. Trying to be a responsible citizen.
Rhyme taught us to talk (111-112).

Though Paul Chowder, the narrator of Nicholson Baker’s new novel The Anthologist, spends most of his time thinking about poems and poets, he references a handfull of surprising songs within the pages of this beguiling novel. The music mentioned comes to the forefront of Chowder’s mind primarily through rhymes he likes. On page 164 Chowder scans Ludacris lyrics along with poems by A.A. Milne, Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Vachel Lindsay, T. S. Eliot, and Edgar Allen Poe. Elsewhere songs by Coldplay and the Red Hot Chili Peppers appear after ruminations on Sara Teasdale and Edna St. Vincent Millay. It’s a postmodern poetry feast with pop culture references served on the side.

From a mixing standpoint, I dropped some samples of poets reading their own work to use for transitions between songs. And since “The Fish” by Elizabeth Bishop figures so prominently in this book I cracked open MAX/MSP and tried mashing up a recording of Bishop with the iiO song Chowder mentions on page 82. There are some other audio surprises in this mix as well. For instance, who would have thought Edna St. Vincent Millay had such rocking inflections in her voice? Enjoy.


I’ve been fascinated by the idea of annotated audio ever since I read about this BBC project back in 2005. It’s cool to see that Soundcloud has set up a way to do this via their comments tool. Basically you can tag audio segments with footnotes. It’s for other listeners to point out things they like in your mix. Here I have used it to tag the poet samples I’ve used for my transitions. Check it out:

The Anthologist by redchuck

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