Click Image to Visit the Pecan Grove Press Web Page for Poetry from Paradise Valley


Poetry From Paradise Valley

Pecan Grove Press has released an anthology of poems, a sampling of works published in Valparaiso Poetry Review during its first decade, from the original 1999-2000 volume to the 2009-2010 volume.

Poetry from Paradise Valley includes a stellar roster of 50 poets. Among the contributors are a former Poet Laureate of the United States, a winner of the Griffin International Prize, two Pulitzer Prize winners, two National Book Award winners, two National Book Critics Circle winners, six finalists for the National Book Award, four finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award, two finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, and a few dozen recipients of other honors, such as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, etc.

Readers are encouraged to visit the Poetry from Paradise Valley page at the publisher's web site, where ordering information about the book can be found.

Best Books of Indiana 2011: Finalist. Judges' Citation: "Poetry from Paradise Valley is an excellent anthology that features world-class poetry, including the work of many artists from the Midwest, such as Jared Carter, Annie Finch, David Baker, and Allison Joseph. It’s an eclectic and always interesting collection where poems on similar themes flow into each other. It showcases the highest caliber of U. S. poetry."
—Indiana Center for the Book, Indiana State Library

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Remembering Roy Eldridge

Roy Eldridge, born on this date (January 30) in 1911, established a reputation as one of the finest trumpeters in jazz during the 1930s and 1940s, when he played with some of the more notable swing bands of the World War II era, such as Gene Krupa’s Orchestra and the Artie Shaw Band, and he has often been noted as an influence on leading figures of the bebop period that followed, including Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker.

Nevertheless, Eldridge’s importance and impact sometimes have seemed to be overlooked among the chronicles of twentieth-century jazz. As Ted Gioia observes in his book, The History of Jazz (Oxford University Press, 1997): “The genealogists of jazz often cite Eldridge as a linking figure, whose work represents a halfway point between the styles of Armstrong and Gillespie. This reputation as a ‘transitional’ player in the music’s history may ultimately prove to be more of a curse than a blessing for Eldridge, who soon found himself lost in the shuffle of shifting styles and changing tastes.”

When the modern music of Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and John Coltrane took control in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Roy Eldridge’s stature seemed to be diminished. Indeed, Nat Hentoff once noted in Jazz Is (Random House, 1976) that Eldridge “was so out of fashion” that he didn’t appear at all on the 1960 Down Beat Readers’ Poll, even though only fifteen votes were necessary to get a mention.

Gioia has labeled Eldridge “one of the enigmas of the Swing Era. Recognized by many of his peers as the greatest trumpeter of his generation, Eldridge never enjoyed much financial success as a leader, nor was he capable of staying very long as a star soloist with a major band.” Still, “Little Jazz” Eldridge—who had picked up his nickname because of his short, slight stature and his persistence in playing jazz anywhere anytime he could, and who determinedly continued to play swing jazz throughout his life—was recognized a decade later by Down Beat for his accomplishments with induction into the magazine’s Hall of Fame in 1971. Highly respected jazz producer and promoter, Norman Granz once responded to a journalist’s question: “It’s Roy Eldridge who embodies what jazz is all about.” Roy Eldridge died in 1989.

Listening to Eldridge’s playing, as in the video above, I am reminded of the opening stanzas of “In My Dream I’ve Become a Great Trumpeter,” a poem by Sebastian Matthews that appeared in his collection of poetry, We Generous, published in 2007 by Red Hen Press:

In my dream I’ve become a great trumpeter
with the embouchure of a young Miles
and all his cool insouciance, too.
I have a freight train in my fingers

like Little Roy Eldridge and,
without any training at all,
no real sense of the notes
beyond a schoolboy’s grammar,

I step up to the microphone
and enter into the stream
of my solo in a snake-
charmers trance, tight-roping

my way to the other side . . . .

[Readers are encouraged to read more poetry about jazz by Sebastian Matthews in a previous “One Poet’s Notes” article, “Bill Evans and Sebastian Matthews.”]

1 comment:

gih said...

I miss this band.