Visual Poetry

Opal L. Nations

Off'n'On Chains [8.2mb, PDF] 1978.

Opal Nations was born in Brighton, England. During the mid-sixties he worked as lead vocalist in London clubs with the late Alexis Korner's Band and later his own group, The Frays. He helped popularize American soul-based R & B and gospel music in Great Britain. It was through his efforts that black American gospel artists visited the country to perform in various major cities. He also became part of one of England's first integrated gospel groups, The Ram John Holder Group. With The Frays, and later as a soloist, he recorded for Decca Records in London. After brief periods with various London R&B bands, he turned his back on singing and began a career as an experimental fiction writer. His textual work, sometimes strange, sometimes humorous in nature, appeared in over 200 small press magazines around the world. Texts have been translated and published in French, German, and Norwegian. He is the author of over thirty books of fiction, drawings, and collage. As an editor of his own press, Strange Faeces, he brought to the public's attention fresh young poets and writers, both in the publication of books and through his literary magazine periodical, Strange Faeces. He was awarded The Perpetua and Pushcart Prizes for his fiction. Some of his sound-poems have been included in the TV series "Man and His Music," a globally syndicated program hosted by Yehudi Menhuin. In the late 70's he became interested in radio, and with The Radio Lux Players of Vancouver helped script and perform in many independently produced radio plays. After moving to Oakland, Ca. in 1981, he joined KPFA in Berkeley where for 10 years he hosted a R&B/Gospel shows -- "Doo-Wop Delights" and, later, "Rockin' at Midnite," as well as a world music program, "Harmonia Mundi." After 14 years' tenure with KPFA, he hosted a two-hour traditional gospel program at KUSP in SantaCruz called "In the Heavenly Way." He produced the Legendary Gospel Specialty reissue series for Fantasy Records in Berkeley and the Nashboro Gospel reissue series for AVI in Los Angeles. He currently spends his time interviewing gospel performers, writing articles on a regular basis for Blues & Rhythm, Now Dig This, and Doctor Jazz (to name a few) and conducting music research for CD reissues on the Acrobat and Ace labels, among others.

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