Culture Shock: Get Down With The “Gorgeously Profane”

Kim Vodicka Never Edits Out The Private Parts

Maggie Grimason
4 min read
Poetry EP
Psychic Private's "poetry EP" will be on sale at Tortuga (Kim Vodicka)
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When I ask poet Kim Vodicka what the poems she’s written for her collaborative project, Psychic Privates, are about, she demures. Well, not exactly demures, that doesn’t seem to much be in Vodicka’s vocabulary, but she doesn’t like the question. What she can do, though, is pin down some themes that run through the work of Psychic Privates—a spoken word project with a sonic component that currently consists of Vodicka and revolving musical collaborators. “There’s clearly a lot of wounded feminine rage,” she said. “And I never skimp on the sex, death and bodily fluids. I seem to never be able to stop writing poems about that.” There’s an interval of laughter before she added, “Yeah, that’s a good, succinct way to put it.”

Those elements certainly surface in Vodicka’s poetry, but there’s something else at work here, too. Her work strikes chords in the listener that don’t entirely make sense. Guided by her abstractions, very real emotions bubble over. “Things that make me feel weird and kind of uncomfortable are the things that are usually most interesting to me. … Even a feeling of repulsion is interesting to me,” she said by way of explanation. “I find that in the process of investigating whatever that reaction might be, it usually makes me fall deeply in love with whatever I’ve experienced.” And there’s a dissonance in that, too, for those who experience Vodicka’s poetry. It all has to do with the poet’s deep attraction to the uncanny. “It’s really all about layering … Layering mood upon moods. And moods that don’t necessarily go together. There’s always something familiar to cling to, but at the same time you’re having a totally unique experience with words and sound,” she said. “It’s familiar, you recognize it, but at the same time, it’s not at all what you expect it to be.”

The sound element is an essential component to creating the vibes that are endemic to all that is Psychic Privates. “I consider myself to be a deeply repressed musician,” Vodicka explained about the deliberate choice to craft her poems as sound collages. “I think I intuitively started writing things that had a sort of built-in musicality.” Working alongside that innate tunefulness was a desire to make her poetry something other than what she had experienced in the literary world. “I’m not trying to knock the traditional poetry reading at all, but I always found that I was wanting something more to happen. … Or it seemed like something exciting wanted to happen but rarely did.” In 2012 she began experimenting with musician Randy Faucheux and by April 2017 they had a full blown poetry chapbook on 7” vinyl.

“From inception to the time we raised the money and recorded, it was about five years. Which seems like an absurdly long time to release a three track record,” Vodicka said, again, laughing. Though, it really is an unprecedented, highly customized medium for a poetry collection to take, a “chapbook EP,” as Vodicka put it. “We recorded it all from home, in a bedroom in a janky little apartment in Baton Rouge,” Vodicka, who now lives in Memphis, remembered. Tende Rloin Press in Ohio snatched it up, and now Psychic Privates is gearing up for a tour with the limited pressings of the work, though this particular outing features Josh Stevens on instrumentation. The tour will take Psychic Privates westward, all the way to San Diego, with two dates in New Mexico, on July 12, in Santa Fe at The Underground at Evangelo’s (200 W. San Francisco) and in Albuquerque on July 13, at Tortuga (901 Edith SE) at 9pm ($5 suggested donation). Though, Vodicka points out, the performance is “not for the faint of heart.”

“Content-wise, it’s pretty explicit,” she warned, rating different elements of the set anywhere from PG-13 to XXX on a loose interpretive scale. So, you know, maybe keep the toddlers at home for the evening. “I like to describe it as a gorgeously profane experience,” Vodicka said. And in that, Vodicka seems to cut to the heart of the thing in her particular poetic way.
Kim Vodicka

A portrait of Psychic Private poetess Kim Vodicka

Josh Wascome

Poetry EP

Kim Vodicka

Poetry EP

Kim Vodicka

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