By Yusef Komunyakaa

Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa is celebrated for his jazz poetry, and this publication is the 1st to collect the verve and power of his oeuvre. the center-piece of this quantity is the libretto Testimony. reminiscent of Charlie Parker, Testimony was once commissioned for a radio drama with unique track by means of eminent Australian composer and saxophonist Sandy Evans. Remarkably wealthy and evocative, encompassing quite a lot of musical strength and performers, this relocating confirmation of Parker’s genius grew to become a milestone in modern radio theater. Twenty-eight extra poems spanning the breadth of Komunyakaa’s profession are integrated, together with by no means formerly released. Accompanying the poems are interviews and essays that includes Komunyakaa, Evans, radio manufacturer Christopher Williams, jazz critic Miriam Zolin, jazz author and editor Sascha Feinstein, and musical director, Paul Grabowsky. Sascha Feinstein writes the foreword.

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Possibly there’s whatever to all this speak about seeing a graven photo of fowl in Buddha & the Sphinx. even though 1/2 the root’s long gone, heavy with phantom limbs, French plant life engraved into his horn bloom into the after-hours. even supposing the poem refers to Buddha, it doesn't insist upon dramatic parallels. in its place, Komunyakaa recognizes that “something” non secular sixty seven might certainly be on the base of superficial “talk. ” in reality, the poem’s shut services equally: with a wide awake dismissal of the normal line, “Bird lives! ” as an alternative, Yusef Komunyakaa replaces a cliché with genuine poetry, reworking the filigree from Parker’s Selmer saxophone into an natural metaphor that implies Charlie Parker’s sustained legacy. Notes 1. Yusef Komunyakaa’s phrases are from the 1997 amazing Corners interview, “Survival mask: Yusef Komunyakaa with Sascha Feinstein,” which follows. 2. Giddens, Gary. Celebrating chicken: The Triumph of Charlie Parker, long island: De Capo Press, 1998. sixty eight Survival mask An Interview with Yusef Komunyakaa Sascha Feinstein This interview came about on the Runcible Spoon, a coffeehouse in Bloomington, Indiana on June twenty fifth, 1997. Sascha Feinstein: What at the start encouraged you to jot down a libretto? Yusef Komunyakaa: good, Chris Williams on the Australian Broadcasting company first approached me in early 1995 with the assumption of a libretto, whatever that celebrated jazz’s courting with blues and gospel. I chimed to this excellent notion simply because i believe that my paintings, my poetry, has developed out of this musical culture. during this first dialogue, Chris defined his admiration for Charlie Parker’s musical principles after which he pointed out that the majority most likely Sandy Evans could compose the track. instantly I felt this was once a fit problem. I had heard considered one of her 3 teams, Ten half Invention, at an area pub per week previous in Sydney and that i remembered going away hugely inspired. She has intriguing musical principles, and she or he blows that sax as though she was once made for the software. besides the fact that, the extra i assumed in regards to the imminent piece, the extra i wished to write down anything new and various. i started to play Charlie Parker, every little thing he did, and that i clothed my psyche in his sounds back. notwithstanding I’d listened to him over the years, he used to be nonetheless new and standard within the similar breath, previous and cosmopolitan. i believe Chris used to be taking into consideration a extra conventional libretto yet i wished a versatile definition. With Parker, I felt conventional libretto may pull opposed to his experimentation and his entire trajectory of operating issues out as he went alongside. i needed the piece to emulate the musical principles, how they might stream for him. Feinstein: In essence, what did you retain and what did you draw back from? sixty nine Komunyakaa: I pulled clear of the constitution of the libretto. i wished anything to excite me and shock me, so what I went for used to be one of those composite. i began brooding about the activities of Parker, and in addition concerning the proven fact that some of the tales have been misguided, deceptive. a great instance is the tale that Parker died in Baroness Pannonica’s rest room on the Stanhope inn with a needle in his arm.

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