The Sunday Poem: “Lady Day and Prez” by Henry Wolstat

. . The Sunday Poem  is published weekly, and strives to include the poet reading their work. Henry Wolstat reads his poem at its conclusion. . . ___ . . photo by Mel Levine/pinelife, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons Billie Holiday, 1955 . .   Lady Day and Prez At the bar of the … Continue readingThe Sunday Poem: “Lady Day and Prez” by Henry Wolstat”

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April 13th, 2024

The Sunday Poem: “Front Row Seat For A Head-Bebopping Allergy Sufferer” by Francis Fernandes

The pollen is flying like mad –
frantic, crazy, amorphously Daliesque –
sort of like our trio the other day,
rollicking and lollygagging through Monk’s
Brilliant Corners, losing it so completely
that when Marty flung a stick at my head

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April 6th, 2024

“Black Coffee Blues” – a poem by Mary K O’Melveny

Even if you never drank black coffee, that won’t stop you from drinking in the feelings that filter across a room whenever Sarah Vaughan sings Black Coffee. One could drown in that bottomless, inky liquid, that heartache-laden brew,

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March 27th, 2024

The Sunday Poem: “Watermelon Man” by Charles Albert

I admit I’d never heard of “Watermelon Man” before Harry Reid came to my kids’ elementary school to put together a concert band. He wasn’t a salaried teacher, but a part-time outsider brought in by the PTA.

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March 10th, 2024

“The Poetry Gods Want to Know” – Emmett Wheatfall on the impact of climate change on poets

The Portland, Oregon poet Emmet Wheatfall – whose jazz poetry has been published on Jerry Jazz Musician – talks about the connection between poetry and the environment, and the impact of climate change on poets and other artists, and the rest of humanity.

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March 7th, 2024

The Sunday Poem: “Footprints to Infinity” by Michael Amitin

gentle the footprints go
up through the wilderness
to the heart-shaped night

short of breath, shorter, inches away on my speakers
miles inside
a sphere of glad- sad melancholy, dark tree twilights

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March 2nd, 2024

Six poems, six poets new to Jerry Jazz Musician

These poems are new submissions by five poets relatively new to Jerry Jazz Musician, and are an example of the writing I have the privilege of encountering on a regular basis.

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February 28th, 2024

“Devotion” – a poem and 11 “Musings on Monk,” by Connie Johnson

Marginalized, itinerant
Brilliance barely compensated
You want to save them all; you
Particularly want to save him

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February 22nd, 2024

A collection of jazz haiku, Vol. 2

The 19 poets included in this collection effectively share their reverence for jazz music and its culture with passion and brevity.

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February 20th, 2024

Proceeding From Behind: A collection of poems grounded in the rhythmic, relating to the remarkable, by Terrance Underwood

A relaxed, familiar comfort emerges from the poet Terrance Underwood’s language of intellectual acuity, wit, and space – a feeling similar to one gets while listening to Monk, or Jamal, or Miles. I have long wanted to share his gifts as a poet on an expanded platform, and this 33-poem collection – woven among his audio readings, music he considers significant to his story, and brief personal comments – fulfills my desire to do so.

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February 14th, 2024

Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 19: “The Universal Tone”

Trading Fours with Douglas Cole is an occasional series of the writer’s poetic interpretations of jazz recordings and film. This edition is influenced by Stillpoint, the 2021 album by Zen practitioner Barrett Martin

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January 24th, 2024

A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Winter, 2024 Edition

One-third of the Winter, 2024 collection of jazz poetry is made up of poets who have only come to my attention since the publication of the Summer, 2023 collection. What this says about jazz music and jazz poetry – and this community – is that the connection between the two art forms is inspirational and enduring, and that poets are finding a place for their voice within these virtual pages.

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January 18th, 2024

The Sunday Poem: “Dorothy Donegan: Queen of the Keys” – by Connie Johnson

Sensational
Largely unsung
Dorothy Donegan
Known by jazz insiders as
The female Art Tatum
His protégé
The one who made him say:
“She is the only woman who can
Make me practice.”

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January 14th, 2024

The Sunday Poem: “Not Shelling Fava Beans With Alice Waters” by John Briscoe

I jammed
with the Afro-American Jazz Band
in the old Off Plaza on McAllister,
and with the blind Black pianist whose name I can’t remember
in the club we knew as The Question Mark
whose sign on Haight Street was just a neon ?,
when the club was straight and featured jazz

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January 7th, 2024

“Compared to What?” – a poem by James Higgins

. . photo by Brian Mcmillen, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons Les McCann at San Francisco’s Keystone Korner, 1980 . ___ . Compared To What? It’s Les McCann & Eddie Harris heard it back in ’69, heard it now not once but twice, so nice, but sadness got me tonight, hit me hard, Compared … Continue reading ““Compared to What?” – a poem by James Higgins”

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January 4th, 2024

“Improvisation 101” – a poem by Marianne Peel

We begin to study Uncle George
in a cavern of disintegration.
A hospital bed wrenched through
a narrow doorway. Shag carpeting
cauterized and peeled from the concrete floor.
A hoyer lift wheeled in. A pully installed
so George can shift from horizontal to vertical.

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January 3rd, 2024

“Green Street” – a poem by George Kalamaras

How can somebody so blue, Grant, be named
Green? How can the ocean current

and its waves? Simple. Immediate. Each note comes
from you slow as underwater speech. Say

a fish tank and pufferfish hugging the glass. Imagine
being trapped. Gravel pumped through the gills

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December 8th, 2023

Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 18: “The Sermon”

Hammers in a construction site
sound like a band warming up,
weird solos by a bunch of drummers.
Jimmy Smith comes down draped in groove,
sermonizing your stride,
clouds chest-out like they know something.
A man standing in front of a house,
shouting, I got nothing from you!

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November 29th, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “How I Achieved Levitation” by Bryan Franco

. .   The Sunday Poem  is published weekly, and strives to include the poet reading their work. Bryan Franco reads his poem at its conclusion. . . ___ . . . . How I Achieved Levitation They all lived in the Walnut Building. Satchmo blew the roof off the house. Fats Waller tickled ivories. … Continue readingThe Sunday Poem: “How I Achieved Levitation” by Bryan Franco”

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November 19th, 2023

“Four Sides Live” – a poem by Justin Hare

It tickles my fancy the way
francophone announcers
ornately say the names
of jazzmen in those live recordings
put to reel in Montreux.
Jack DeJohnette in particular
tickles me, perhaps because
it is a french-like sort of name.

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November 16th, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “Behind the Smile (for Satchmo)” by Antoinette F. Winstead

The Young Turk disregarded the old trumpeter
labeled him a vaudevillian minstrel
because he shucked and grinned,
having no privy to old man’s roiling anger within
fueled by slights and shames endured for years
despite his lauded, storied career.

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November 5th, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “Love & Monk,” by Carrie Magness Radna

La La Love,
even when the cold raindrops
pounded against the window,
we snuggled close like fuzzy cats,
purring with Thelonious Monk
as we drank our Guinness.

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October 29th, 2023

Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 17: “All I know about music is not many people ever really hear it”

I don’t know where it starts, he said, but can you imagine
watching  They Cloned Tyrone  and the music playing,
almost the whole dance club version of  Love Hangover,
I can’t even watch anything, my mind looks through the settings,
the dialogue is like a crowd talking in a club and I want to listen in,
go into that Diana Ross whisper singing love voice

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October 24th, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “Vibrations” by Victor Enns

My eyes were faster dreaming
a drum kit in bed with me
Rapid Eye Movement Disorder
disturbing my sleep and my wife
moving away with her cellphone
camera watch my arms begin to move

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October 22nd, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “I Blame Chet Baker” by Lauren Loya

I blame Chet Baker
For opening a window into my past
Sensing that phantom trumpet in my capable hands
The smooth curves of the hard brass, the cold
Mouthpiece against my buzzing lips
Bright melodies blaring
From carefree days of my youth

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October 15th, 2023

In a Place of Dreams: Connie Johnson’s album of jazz poetry, music, and life stories

A collection of Connie Johnson’s poetry is woven among her audio readings, a personal narrative of her journey and music she considers significant to it, providing readers the chance to experience the full value of her gifts.

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October 11th, 2023

“Song of the Poplar Tree” – a poem by Jerrice Baptiste

. . “Tree”(1924) photo by Alfred Stieglitz/via Raw Pixel/CC0 1.0 Deed . .   Song of the Poplar Tree The song playing always catches me off guard. My trembling fingers quicken to remove the old vinyl record. I must stop her voice from singing. Even the wispy quality carries the heavy weight. I weep. Not … Continue reading ““Song of the Poplar Tree” – a poem by Jerrice Baptiste”

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October 5th, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “Fledging” by John L. Stanizzi

The woodshed was the hunting ground for wings of notes.
Black suits and ties, hipster hats and smoke rings of notes.

Was Robert Johnson alone, hellhound on his trail?
Was a deal made? Was Bird Satan’s plaything of notes.

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October 1st, 2023

“Thelonious Monk and Mama” – a poem by Erren Kelly

. . photo by Bernard Gotfryd/Library of Congress/PDM 1.0 Thelonious Monk, 1968 . ___ .   Thelonious Monk and Mama Thelonious Monk paints a picture of Mama with his piano, the way Monet or Matisse would, with paint: loud, bright colorful notes that are a Rorschach test, screaming on the page. Perhaps, Mama would’ve modeled … Continue reading ““Thelonious Monk and Mama” – a poem by Erren Kelly”

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September 30th, 2023

A collection of jazz haiku

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.

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September 27th, 2023

“Wolfman and The Righteous Brothers” – a poem by John Briscoe

Barstow to Boron, bound for Bakersfield
we fly across the Mojave Desert, will wind
through and over the Tehachapis
only to come to rest in another desert
on the rim of the sink of California.

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September 22nd, 2023

Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 16: “Little Waltz” and “Summertime”

Trading Fours with Douglas Cole is an occasional series of the writer’s poetic interpretations of jazz recordings and film. In this edition, the poet connects the recordings of Jessica Williams’ “Little Waltz” and Gene Harris’ “Summertime.”

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September 20th, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “Erroll Garner at the Ace” by Kristofer Collins

From a third floor window I imagine
I can almost see the cracked black
& white tile welcoming Penn Avenue
to the long-closed Kappel’s Jewelers.

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September 17th, 2023

Ella Fitzgerald, in poems by Claire Andreani and Michael L. Newell

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

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September 13th, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “Musical Invocation” by Kathryn MacDonald

Strains of Charlie Parker’s alto sax fill
the empty apartment song-after-song –
“Dancing in the Dark,” “Loverman,”
“Embraceable You.”
Between every note I wish.

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September 10th, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “The Church of St. John Coltrane” by Mark Fogarty

Coltrane said a prayer to his musical God
Straight through the horn of his saxophone.
Not a metaphor; he spoke the words
Through the reed and the music into the air.

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September 3rd, 2023

A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Summer, 2023 Edition

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.

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August 22nd, 2023

The Sunday Poem “Po’ Monkey’s Juke Joint: Merigold, Mississippi” by Marianne Peel

Shrouded in smoke and cigarette spheres
Jazzy speakeasy on a summer slog of a night

Where hips ramble in tandem,
Slide and slip in an out of rhythm

Juke Joint shifting with an uneven floor
Naked feet shuffling and colliding

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August 13th, 2023

Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 15: “Roots and Threads”

Vivaldi, especially “The Four Seasons,”
keeps showing up in forms of jazz:
a hint, a structure—but try unraveling
any musical DNA you go straight back
to singing and to drum, voice and poetry—

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August 10th, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “Being Smooth, Jazz, and Chill” by Christopher D. Sims

Smooth. Jazz. Chill.
Write. Think. Build.
Listen. Vibe. Poetically
design.

Spend time with jazzy
sounds elevating the
mind. Jazz is smooth.
Jazz is chill.

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July 30th, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “Village” by Michel Krug

The light aspires to be equatorial
but each eroded moment quiets otherwise.

The twilight Superior shore fills
with pine smoke from fire pits

just as Coltrane played in the
smoldering light at the Village Vanguard.

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July 23rd, 2023

“Solace” – a poem by Terrance Underwood

. . Lester Young,  1946 . . Solace I relish the cultivation of my Lester afternoons an endeavor still absorbing at my age captive in that garden of ambient sound …………………that Young tenor breath ………………………….a zephyr expulsion stirring atmosphere rare these days for this climate caressing time & movement with a tone to stream still … Continue reading ““Solace” – a poem by Terrance Underwood”

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July 18th, 2023

“Jazz On a Summer’s Day” – a poem by John Murphy

It’s 1958
and the epitome of 50s style
Anita O’Day steps onto
the stage, white gloves
to her elbows, black hat
crowned with white feathers,
slim black dress and finger clicks
the band into sound and dynamic
jazz minors and majors.

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July 14th, 2023

Jazz Haiku – a sampler

In anticipation of a collection of jazz haiku — to be published sometime in August, 2023 — a small sampling of the jazz haiku received so far is published here.

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July 5th, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “I Hear Music in the Kitchen” by Sandra Rivers-Gill

Naturally, his lyrics are cued a cappella./“I’m home” slips from his lips,/sizzles like the taste of what I’m baking in the oven,/as he unwinds his day.

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June 25th, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “Duke Ellington’s Big-Band Orchestra: Live at Basin Street East, New York City. Summer 1964” – by Alan and Arlan Yount

The poet Alan Yount and son Arlan write about a live 1964 performance by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra

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June 18th, 2023

“Billie Holiday’s Deathbed” – a poem by Sean Murphy

This busy bee, at the end of a life like clockwork,
a symphony of service to everything but herself—
wings snatched in a world blinded by the way it is—
slowly expiring in the sweet nectar of stillness,

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May 31st, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “Jazz Within Me” by Jerrice Baptiste

. . The Sunday Poem  is published weekly, and strives to include the poet reading their work. Ms. Baptiste reads her poem at its conclusion. . . ___ . . David Dellepiane, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons . . Jazz Within Me I like Jazz playing within me. ……………….Record that never skips. Since age sixteen, … Continue readingThe Sunday Poem: “Jazz Within Me” by Jerrice Baptiste”

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May 13th, 2023

Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 13: “What We Talk About When We Talk About Kind of Blue

The poet writes about the significance of Miles Davis’s “Kind of Blue”, and why it is the “it” jazz recording…

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April 18th, 2023

A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Spring, 2023 Edition

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.

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April 13th, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “Nina As In Nina Simone” by Arya F. Jenkins

This narrative poem is informed by quotes and stories in What Happened, Miss Simone? the 2015 Netflix biographical documentary about the singer/artist’s life and art

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April 2nd, 2023

A collection of short jazz poems – Vol. 1

A collection in which over 30 poets communicate their appreciation for jazz music in poems no longer than seven lines.

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January 27th, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “Wood Ticks on Fire: Cecil Taylor and the Forests of Sound that Plant Themselves in Us” – by George Kalamaras

The poet writes about the complexity of pianist Cecil Taylor’s music, and the liberation he feels from listening to it

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January 22nd, 2023

A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Fall/Winter, 2022-23 Edition

.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.

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December 16th, 2022

“Frank Zappa Presents Edgard Varèse” — a poem by Martin Agee

In the winter of 1981 we were hired to play Downtown—
a performance in Greenwich Village billed “Frank Zappa Presents:
a Musical Tribute to Edgard Varèse.” I sat on stage,
wearing black, tuning my violin, warming up,
looking out at the audience milling around, most of them
covered in tattoos and piercings of every body part

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November 14th, 2022

“The Problem With Serenading Canadian Geese” – a poem by Joel Glickman

They are gathering now
all along the shoreline.
Their bones sing October!
Their wings cry out Go south!

I walk with my banjo
down to the water’s edge.
What can I play for geese
who carry their own tunes

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November 4th, 2022

The Blues, Classical, Jazz, Soul and Rock — in five poems

In five separate poems, poets write of Robert Johnson, Beethoven, Ornette Coleman, Duke Fakir and The Band

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October 10th, 2022

“Live at the Bohemian Caverns…Remembering Ramsey Lewis” – a poem by Mary K. O’Melveny

I was there to see The Trio:
Ramsey Lewis, Eldee Young,
Red Holt. The darkened space
lived up to its name. It felt edgy,
sophisticated, high voltage.

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September 21st, 2022

“Wood Ticks on Fire: Cecil Taylor and the Forests of Sound that Plant Themselves in Us” — a poem by George Kalamaras

As if the stars contained wood ticks
on fire. As if there were forests within
forests. Trees within stones. Stones
folded over into water.
The most secret nocturnal animals
walk around during the day, unseen.

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September 11th, 2022

“Blame It On My Youth” — a poem by Tim Tomlinson

You listen to Karrin Allyson sing “Blame It on My Youth,” you picture her in the throes of its May-December scenario. You picture her on a college campus. Columbia University, the steps in front of Low, a pleated skirt, a short bob, the full flush of love on her cheeks.

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September 7th, 2022

Two poems (for the birds) by Mary K O’Melveny

My friend and I are talking indignant politics
as we head across the Mid-Hudson bridge,
steel sky above, chilly water below,
when a cloud of birds twists, spins above us.

They seek every bare branch, fill them
as if they were summer leaves, then scatter
again like confetti in wind. No one is in charge,
yet balance animates all.

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September 5th, 2022

“It’s Jazz” — a poem by Scott Brown

It’s
sittin’ in the corner knowing what others don’t get and smile-noddin’ over scotch and coda after a day bounced you about like Buddy’s snare and high hat clamped you down to sweet Georgia brown dirt in the Summertime wailed by Sidney Bechet

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August 31st, 2022

“Last Flight” – a poem by Robert Kokan

Through your horn’s dark pieties,
the glamor of its golden mouth, a youth
lost to the call and response of too many needle-nights,
too many dumps, too many dives,
you play a mudwater music, slow-flowing under an old iron bridge,
so sad, so far gone, it wings away never to come back.

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August 18th, 2022

A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Summer, 2022 Edition

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.

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August 14th, 2022

“The Music Mind’s Make” – a poem by Catherine Perkins

I rise, change the sheets on the bed
that used to be in Mother’s basement.
I step into her body or she into mine,
attempt to line the blanket and spread
evenly, to tuck in the ends the “military”
square-corner-way and then, I remember
Mother doing chores to jazz, blues

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August 12th, 2022

“In Tribute to Ted Joans” — two poems on Charlie Parker, by Catherine Lee

Was it something she said? about
the famous Charlie Parker drawers
He — himself a drawer —
illustrator, declaimer of conclusions —
commenced to rapping
about terrorists
on LA flight
demanding underwear

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August 8th, 2022

Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 7: “Step Along The Night Way”

He’s a-stagger the patrilineous
hillside grove wonder tunnels
street black ribbons going bower-deep
with sunlight glitter punctuations
feeling the great payoff on the way

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July 11th, 2022

“What Music Can Do” — a poem by Mary K O’Melveny

When I hear Sketches of Spain or Kind of Blue – Miles Davis masterpieces from his earlier career – I am always calmed, thrilled by the ways that music can take over every portion of a person from head to toe, from inside to outside, from innermost mind to outermost layer of skin.

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July 6th, 2022

“Always Cool” — a poem by Judith Vaughn

. . Distributed by Joe Glaser’s Associated Booking Corporation. Photographer uncredited and unknown., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons Chet Baker, 1955 . . Always Cool Alison weaves on her loom in the living room. Fifth floor walk up. Manhattan. Chet plays on the stereo; a trumpet divinely graced, caressed like a stunning woman’s body, soft … Continue reading ““Always Cool” — a poem by Judith Vaughn”

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June 29th, 2022

“Some Things Are Always With Us” — a poem 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

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June 19th, 2022

“First Light” — a poem (after Freddie Hubbard) by Jessica Lee McMillan

first light skims on green wing
like sprouts strobing for ray
climbs from soils of night,
through damask-leafed curtain
a gateless gate, come home
from crescendo of star-gazing
to dew of earth shiver

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May 5th, 2022

Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 5: “The Sunset and the Mockingbird Suite” (in honor of Tommy Flanagan)

Mr. Cole’s suite consists of eight poems, all interpretations from songs on pianist Tommy Flanagan’s album Sunset and the Mockingbird Suite

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April 14th, 2022

A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Spring, 2022 Edition

Over 60 poets from all over the world celebrate their love of jazz…in poetry.

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April 7th, 2022

Five poetic landscapes by Sean Howard

Inspired by the essays collected in the jazz and cultural critic Nat Hentoff’s 2010 book At the Jazz Band Ball: Sixty Years on the Jazz Scene, in this series of poems Sean Howard uncovers new relationships and resonances in the author’s writing – reusing, recycling, and remixing text from the book as poetry – while allowing him the opportunity to pay a personal tribute to a writer he reveres.

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March 29th, 2022

Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 4: “Maiden Voyage”

Set forth beautiful one
open sea and open sky
as far as your eye can see
full wind filling the sails
pushing those hesitant steps
three at a time before
the cymbal crash of wave

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February 25th, 2022

Three poems about three pianists

hands do talk
to me they do
& after shaking his
some years back
clasping those long digits
expecting ivory key smoothness
I was stopped short by
their cement block
& long handle roughness

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February 12th, 2022

“My Encounter” — a poem by Roodly Laurore (translated by Jerrice J. Baptiste)

A concert for lovers
Romantic space
For an eternal memory.
Well-dressed musicians
Well decorated scene.
.
Each note inspires exact words
To win Ghislaine’s heart,
The beauty of my youth.

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January 29th, 2022

Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 3: “Trading Fours”

Horace Silver’s got a grove. Just listen to that left hand,
like a heart skipping a beat or jumping up to a double-beat,
like beholding something so beautiful you can hardly believe it.

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January 19th, 2022

“Old J.S.— Running Through the Changes” — a poem by Joel Glickman

So long ago, before Ornette Coleman,
Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane—
all those free spirits running up and down
the alphabet of jazz, there was old
J.S. Bach, running through the changes.
I always picture him, and hear him,
at the pipe organ in Tomas Kirsche
all by himself,

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January 7th, 2022

“Harry’s Psalm” — a poem by Michael L. Newell

In the cold vastness of space without end,
we swirl through time, around the sun,
alone, unknown, unknowable, lonely

collections of stardust, certain we matter,
but vague as to why and how, unable
to prove our value, yet convinced we must

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December 23rd, 2021

Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 2: “The Galactic Fantastic — One Note”

Trading Fours with Douglas Cole  is an occasional series of the writer’s poetic interpretations of jazz recordings and film. This poem is written to the 1957 Coleman Hawkins recording of “Juicy Fruit.”

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December 17th, 2021

A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Fall/Winter, 2021-22 Edition

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.

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December 10th, 2021

Paying homage to vinyl record albums — in three poems

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

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December 8th, 2021

“The Day Herbie Died” — a poem by David Cooke

I never did read the news, though I don’t suppose
it made a splash in the Post or Herald Tribune–
with maybe just a line or two
among the baseball stats, divorces,
and the marches picking up
deep down in the Cotton States.

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December 3rd, 2021

Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 1: Chet Baker’s “Night Bird”

I had a little radio up on top of the refrigerator, and I turned it on as the sunlight went and the world filled up with darkness. I listened to a jazz station and smoked a cigarette and blew the smoke out the window.

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November 18th, 2021

“Stop! In The Name Of Love” — a poem by Phyllis Wax

You Supremes in your long black robes
are at it again, sitting as though on Olympus, while we
soulfully wait to hear if you’re in tune with our needs.
We know You Can’t Hurry Love, but

we’re anxious to see your next decree.

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November 9th, 2021