Greg Koontz

Verse:

29

Reader:

Greg Koontz

Location:

Ashville

Verse 29

Blind loving wrestling touch, sheath'd hooded sharp-tooth'd touch!
Did it make you ache so, leaving me?
 
Parting track'd by arriving, perpetual payment of perpetual loan,
Rich showering rain, and recompense richer afterward.
 
Sprouts take and accumulate, stand by the curb prolific and vital,
Landscapes projected masculine, full-sized and golden.
Textual Analysis
Now, as if to catch his breath after the erotic storm of the previous section, Whitman gives us the briefest section in the poem—six lines of post-coital withdrawal. The heightened sensual touch that he just finished describing now "leaves" him, and he addresses Touch once more, as its electrified energy departs ...
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Textual Analysis

FILMMAKER’S NOTES

This shoot was one of the most complicated of any we've done so far.  Three of us were filming. I was on the ground. Ginnard Archibald was flying a drone. And Bob Miller was filming Greg while flying in another plane with Greg's friend Don Wade.

"It's not every day that you get to be flying in the air with your leg out the window," Bob said. "It was pretty amazing."

There had to be a lot of communication between the two pilots, but when Don would call his turns, he would transmit over Greg while he was reading the poem. So Greg would start over. And then it would happen all over again.

The verse was just a handful of lines.  We had cheat sheets—lines of the poem printed on paper strips—taped to the instrument panel. But it took a lot to get through them.

As for the meaning of the poem, Greg said he had no idea what he was reading. So afterward he looked up the verse.

"And it was talking about the afterglow of sex!" he said. "Pretty funny. It was so heavy in metaphor, I didn't even get it!"

Even though he's a self-described "adrenaline junky," Greg doesn't take as many risks as he used to.

"When you’re young, you're just bulletproof. And as you get older you start mitigating those risks with common sense," he said.

Greg has had 24 friends die in plane crashes since 1974.

"I have survived a few mistakes, and I look back and I think, But they didn't, and I don't know why. People are good pilots. And now they're gone."

The key to safety is practice: "You practice what you do, and then you do what you practice."

Over the course of his career, Greg has done more than 1600 performances, won a national award for best air show performer, and now operates a B & B called Sky Country Lodge, where he offers personal aerobatic training.

I think this shoot is an extreme example of the kind of hoops we ask everyone to go through for this project – and they do.

And thanks to Greg and Don we had the opportunity to show a small slice of Alabama from up above. It's not a view you get every day – but it's a good one.

by filmmaker Jenn Crandall, as told to writer Liz Hildreth