Ella Fitzgerald is whispering
to me: “sit here and enjoy your dinner with my
sweet honey voice,” eternal bloom of time,
filling the corner of the street where I eat
with a Golden Age long gone but that remains
like an idea, lingering, like the steam of a
hot bath leaving
traces of fingers on the mirror
Search Results for: michael l. newell
Ella Fitzgerald is whispering
A woman’s fingers explored/piano keys, as though bairns/plowing through snow drifts/in search of hidden life;...
The poet is inspired by the 1956 recording of “St. Thomas,” by Sonny Rollins...
News concerning a new collection of jazz poetry by Michael L. Newell...
Throughout the day, the sky has bled
boatloads of water to drown the streets,
a level of grief I have not known
since the day the e-mail arrived
with the heading, “Landing gear down,”
a note from a brother informing me
of my father’s passing in Oregon
The poet writes of the collaboration of Ellington, Roach and Mingus on the 1962 album “Money Jungle”...
Wind sweeps through screen into living room;
papers dance across desk and floor;
an old woman’s hair floats,
a tattered flag of silver and gray;
High overhead (turned turned and turned
again) a bird defines wind currents.
Branches crackle wildly gesticulate
a confusion of gusts.
With grace and ease a student
navigates school rapids until
Wading through the gloaming, almost majestic,
looking ready for a coronation, the bird stretches
wings as though sweeping night air from his regal
Never up first, he was always
downstairs first, his four little boys
aligned like ascending angels
up the polished staircase, already
dressed, eager to see the tree,
in evening western sky, golden clouds pile
beneath sinking crimson sun and spill
toward river and ocean with the beauty
and rhythmic precision of notes tumbling
from a vibraphone during a dazzling
improvisation by Milt Jackson
A story of coming to terms with old age…...
. . . …..The poet Michael L. Newell, whose work has often appeared in the pages of Jerry Jazz Musician, has informed me that his new book, Wandering, is now available. Published by cyberwit.net, the book features selections of his poetry from the past fifty years. …..Michael draws readers into his lyrical, vast world with … Continue reading “News about the poet Michael L. Newell”...
sits on a shelf, forgotten save when I open
the closet, and feel my aching knees complain
of hours spent crouched behind home plate
where I had no thought of any consequence
other than winning or losing
Rain sang off the roof for hours. The ancient on the porch rocked, strummed his guitar, whispered, “Make Me a Pallet on the Floor,” one minute sounding like Sam Chatmon, the next his licks would have made Mance Lipscomb proud....
It was a rainy Thanksgiving when
everyone I was related to
or knew even somewhat
were out of town.
I found some semi-edible
turkey at Hughes Market, along
with frozen stuffing that proved
reasonably tasty, adequate
. . Photo by. Marco Chilese .on. Unsplash . . Prayer to the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh . Who I love who I pray for more than anyone but my wife and children do you think of me beautiful Allegheny when you reach the Gulf of Mexico? Monongahela what about you? and … Continue reading “Poetry by Michael L. Newell and John Stupp”...
all night I dreamed I was lost
at sea in an alley on a battlefield
in a junkyard in a waterfront dive
when suddenly I found a room
filled with music where fear
was eased where losses were mourned
choirs of insects serenade night
couples bury faces in lovers’ hair
distant train’s cry soars through dark
. . . . SERENDIPITY As I walk down the dirt road from my job, headed slowly home, I pass a few people wandering here and there as their work day ends; I amble past an old home with a corrugated metal roof, bricks holding down the sheets of metal from blowing away, a … Continue reading ““Serendipity” — a poem by Michael L. Newell”...
. . . . AS DAY ENDS . Clark Terry’s horn unleashes a silvery note ……………….that ascends ………………………ever higher ………………………………to join a golden full moon ………………………………………rising into early evening orbit. When the note ends, listeners discover they have forgotten ……………….to breathe, ………………………and slowly rejoin ………………………………………their quiet neighborhood and prepare for sleep ………where they will drift … Continue reading “Two poems for the New Year…by Alan Yount and Michael L. Newell”...
SONGBIRD a blues note broken in the middle the songbird in the brambles startled into silence shame for the intrusion all autumn I have wandered in search of a music which would still this dull grief for every person I see wandering alone every child I see looking at the world with a … Continue reading ““Songbird” — a poem by Michael L. Newell”...
two hepcats scat sing
drum the hippest
of hip music
advertise “Love for Sale”
in wild musical riffs
dancing through air
nothing held back
all is passion
total physical commitment
I am always happy to report when a writer published on Jerry Jazz Musician finds success with their work. Michael L. Newell informs me that a new book of his poetry, “Meditation of an Old Man Standing on a Bridge,” is now available from Seattle’s Bellowing Ark Press. This is particularly rewarding as I have proudly published many of the poems Michael has submitted to me since 2015 – two of which appear in this collection.
Michael’s poetry is a gift to those of us who love and appreciate the culture inspired by jazz music. His creative spirit is aligned with those musicians he writes about, maintaining a sensitivity critical to communicating the music’s cultural aesthetic.
Whenever I receive submissions from Michael, I know I will be reading the poetry of a well-traveled man whose work can lead me anywhere – a rainy window in Kigali, a snowy stroll in Tashkent, a Christmas spent alone in Jordan, a puzzling evening in...
In early morning silence,
breathing is audible.
Steam rises from tea.
A train’s whistle moans
in the distance, and I
whisper to the night
secrets I share with...
wind howls through trees round
corners shaking bushes windows eaves
lightning fractures night and all
you locked up in memory too fragile
to be handled comes tumbling out
Midnight and we sail on a boundless sea
nothing in sight but a vast pool of black
dimly lit by starlight sprawled without end
The carpenter (whose hands have grown
too large for the twenty house town
he was born in) sticks out his thumb
and catches a jet to Los Angeles where
he drowns off the Santa Monica beach trying
to ride a wave to beautiful downtown Burbank.
His sister stays home and marries
the county’s star high school running back
who turns into the
The wind blew all afternoon,
blue my mood, moody the blues
on the box, bleak and blue when
Robert Johnson took over the airwaves;
the wind blew louder and then
A wealth of excellent poetry has been submitted recently. Poems by Steven Dalachinsky, Michael L. Newell, John Stupp, Ron Kolm, and Freddington are examples…...
(in response to an invitation
musical and raucous from the fingers
of Wild Bill Davis tickling the keys
of his organ seeking a musical response
by someone and something of equal stature)
Illinois I say accepted the challenge and blew
some blue some very blue blue blue notes
that set listeners
The slow tumble of snow past
my partially open window
recalls the year in Amman
I sat for hours watching
a bleak whiteness deepen
all through the abandoned farm fields
surrounding my apartment
while the cool sound of Miles
gave shape and form to my grief
thousands of miles from
all day a light breeze baptizes the landscape
gentle and captivating as a Paul Desmond solo
bushes rap windows and walls with rhythms
unusual and unexpected that Joe Morello would
approve would groove to and trees sway with...
piano dances listeners down the street
feet must move to keep up
crowds gather round
street life jumping this way and that...
full of bees again,
flapping in a stuttering breeze,
high up on...
swing swagger and sway
she bop she bop drift those feet
first one way then another
swirl round and round and back again
light up the floor fly up above
a leaf flutters rises and glides
to its rest a blues note
in autumn as a slow rain falls
at the end of a windy day
and a scattering of distant
Her voice shredded, turned to gravel
by cigarettes and whiskey, she navigates
grocery aisles and checkout lines
as sotto voce she sings old songs
both jazz and country. People stare
in amazement as her ruined voice
elicits tears from listening bystanders.
In her living room she croons with
A marsh harrier soars above the Norfolk broads
circling higher and higher
rather like a Gillespie trumpet solo that rises and rises
to dizzying heights of pitch and volume
eventually the bird slides behind billowing clouds
and vanishes into distance
so the trumpet reaches and...
Rikki spun, spun
and leaped, twirled
on the jukebox, the small
bar filled with smoke, clinking
glasses, Filipinas in short dresses,
and a couple dozen G.I.’s profane,
obscene, and three-quarters in the bag;
Rikki, half-black, half-
Filipino, ten, living
in alleys and under bars, danced
Playing bottleneck guitar, an octogenarian.
His arthritic fingers coax a life’s history,
ring changes of love and loss,
sketch joy’s birth in pain,
the rhythm an invitation...
Oh, Mister Silver, please please please,
don’t make me beat my feet
no more no more no more.
I’ve been finger poppin’, thinking
about Juicy Lucy, dreaming
of some sweet stuff,
wanting to come on home to some...
the pain contained within those
seemingly effortless sounds
lifts us from our couches
to applaud years
after the event
the tone arches stretches slinks struts
leaps to fence tops and deftly prances
In this fifth collection of poetry reflecting these times, 33 poets offer their perspectives…...
On the cusp of an election of consequence the likes of which America hasn’t experienced for 150 years, and in the midst of continued Black Lives Matter protests and an indisputable surge of COVID, 29 poets sharing perspectives from all over the world contribute to this volume of poetry reflecting our tumultuous, unsettling era…...
An invitation was extended recently to poets to submit work that reflects this time of COVID, Black Lives Matter, and a heated political season. In this third volume, 33 poets contribute…...
23 poets contribute 26 poems that speak to the era of COVID, Black Lives Matter, and a heated political season...
I recently extended an invitation to poets to submit work that reflects this time of COVID, Black Lives Matter, and a heated political season.
What follows are some of those submitted. More will appear in the future.
-Joe Maita/Editor and Publisher...
Seven poets combine and art of jazz with an act of love…...
“A Baker’s Dozen Playlist of Ella Fitzgerald Specialties from Five Decades,” as selected by Ella biographer Judith Tick
Chosen from Ella’s entire repertoire, Ms. Tick’s playlist (with brief commentary) is a mix of studio recordings, live dates, and video, all available for listening here....
Earlier this year I invited poets to submit jazz-themed poetry that didn’t need to strictly follow the 5-7-5 syllabic structure of formal haiku, but had to at least be faithful to the spirit of it (i.e. no more than three lines, brief, expressive, emotionally insightful).
This collection, featuring 22 poets, is a good example of how much love, humor, sentimentality, reverence, joy and sorrow poets can fit into their haiku devoted to jazz....
This edition features poetry chosen from hundreds of recent submissions, and from a wide range of voices known – and unknown – to readers of these collections. The work is unified by the poets’ ability to capture the abundance of jazz music, and their experience with consuming it....
This is the 14th extensive collection of jazz poetry published on Jerry Jazz Musician since the fall of 2019, when the concept was initiated. Like all previous volumes, the beauty of this edition is not solely evident in the general excellence of the published works; it also rests in the hearts of the individuals from diverse backgrounds who possess a mutual desire to reveal their life experiences and interactions with the music, its character, and its culture....
.This collection of jazz poetry – the largest yet assembled on Jerry Jazz Musician – demonstrates how poets who are also listeners of jazz music experience and interact with the spontaneous art that arises from jazz improvisation, which often shows up in the soul and rhythm of their poetic language....
In five separate poems, poets write of Robert Johnson, Beethoven, Ornette Coleman, Duke Fakir and The Band...
A broad collection of jazz poetry authored by an impressive assemblage of regular contributors and established poets new to this publication – all of whom open their imagination and hearts to the abundant creative experience they derive from this art....
Over 60 poets from all over the world celebrate their love of jazz…in poetry....
Molly Larson Cook’s abstract-expressionist paintings accompany the 50 poets contributing to this collection. Her art has much in common with the poetry and music found within it; all three art forms can be described as “landscapes of the imagination,” created by artists from all over the world who are inspired in a meaningful way by jazz music, and whose work can be uniquely interpreted and appreciated (or not!) by those who consume it....
One of my greatest joys for decades
was exploring unknown record shops.
I once walked into a newly opened used
shop around the corner from my university
and discovered a used album, apparently
the improvisatory result of a session
set up by Norman Granz that included
“It’s not exclusive, but inclusive, which is the whole spirit of jazz.”
And…this spirit is not limited to the musicians, because celebrating jazz is rich in creative opportunity for writers and visual artists as well. The 54 poets who contribute to this poetry collection are living proof of that.
As always, thanks to the poets, and I hope you enjoy…
In this winter collection of diverse themes and poetic styles, 55 poets wander the musical landscape to explore their spirit and enthusiasm for jazz music, its historic figures, and the passion, sadness, humor and joy it arouses....
The community of poets, writers, artists and photographers who have recently contributed their work and time to Jerry Jazz Musician to answer this question, “What one song best represents your experience with 2020?”...
Jazz and poetry have always had a symbiotic relationship. Their creative languages share the common soil of imagination and improvisation, from which their audiences discover inspiration and spirit, and perhaps even a renewed faith in life itself.
This collection features 50 gifted poets from places as disparate as Ohio and Nepal, Estonia and Boston, Guyana and Pittsburgh, each publicly sharing their inner world reverence for the culture of jazz music....
. . “Clifford Brown” is a painting by Warren Goodson, a Saxapahaw, North Carolina artist whose work is driven by his appreciation for Black culture. With his gracious consent, Mr. Goodson’s art is featured throughout this collection. . . _____ . . “Poetry is eternal graffiti written in the heart of everyone.” -Lawrence Ferlinghetti … Continue reading “A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Summer, 2020 Edition”...
33 poets from all over the globe contribute 47 poems. Expect to read of love, loss, memoir, worship, freedom, heartbreak and hope – all collected here, in the heart of this unsettling spring....
The winter collection of poetry offers readers a look at the culture of jazz music through the imaginative writings of its 32 contributors. Within these 41 poems, writers express their deep connection to the music – and those who play it – in their own inventive and often philosophical language that communicates much, but especially love, sentiment, struggle, loss, and joy....
In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview, Con Chapman, author of Rabbit’s Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges – the first-ever biography of the immortal musician – talks about the enigmatic man and his unforgettable sound....
Seventeen poets contribute to a collection of jazz poetry reflecting an array of energy, emotion and improvisation...
This month, in a special collection of poetry, eight poets contribute seventeen poems focused on stories about family, and honoring mothers and fathers...
Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, discusses her late husband’s complex, fascinating life....
Gary Giddins, Jimmy Heath, Fred Hersch, Joe Hagan, Maxine Gordon, Tim Page, Veronica Swift and Marcus Strickland are among the 25 writers, musicians, poets, educators, and photographers who responded to our question, “What are some of your favorite record album covers of all time?”...
Twelve poets contribute 15 poems to this month’s collection...
. . In this collection, nine poets contribute ten poems celebrating jazz in poems as unique as the music itself . . . . I Am Jazz . I Am Jazz. It is my nature to evolve, to change and adapt. I’m restless. I move towards a future I cannot see or predict. … Continue reading “A collection of poetry celebrating the culture of jazz — January, 2019”...
. . 12 poets contribute 19 poems dedicated to the culture of jazz music, and to the holiday season… . . Collage by Steve Dalachinsky John Stupp’s third poetry collection Pawleys Island was published in 2017 by Finishing Line Press. His manuscript Summer Job won the 2017 Cathy Smith Bowers Poetry Prize and will … Continue reading “Poetry celebrating jazz and the holiday season”...
Jerry Jazz Musician is fortunate to have had hundreds of accomplished writers and poets submit their work for consideration of publication during this calendar year. Many thanks to everyone who thinks enough of this website to desire sharing their creative vision with our readers. The works published are outstanding examples of the connections that exist between jazz music, its culture, and the literary arts.
I am proud to report that I have nominated six exceptional published pieces for the prestigious...
In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, I recently invited many of our contributing poets to submit work that combines the themes of jazz music and love, with the result being a collection of voices expressing their own contributions to the language of love…
Dozens of writers submitted over 100 poems, and the best of the submissions — 29 poems by 18 poets — are found on the following 12 pages. Advance through the selections by utilizing the page monitor at the bottom of each page.
Many thanks to everyone who submitted their work.
Jerry Jazz Musician is fortunate to have had hundreds of accomplished writers and poets submit their work for consideration of publication during this calendar year. Thanks to everyone who thinks enough of this website to desire sharing their creative vision with our readers. The works published are outstanding examples of the connections that exist between jazz music, its culture, and the literary arts.
I am proud to report that I have nominated six exceptional published pieces for the prestigious Pushcart Prize, and they are...