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

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Duke Ellington and Quincy Troupe

“I think all the musicians in jazz should
get together on one certain day
and get down on their knees to thank Duke.”
—Miles Davis

Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was born in Washington, DC on this date (April 29) in 1899. Nat Hentoff once wrote of him in Jazz Is (Limelight Editions, 1992): “Ellington devised his own musical microcosm which had its own life, its own extraordinarily cohesive continuum. Like Bach, Ellington worked in a multitude of forms—stretching them, transmuting them, interrelating them all in a spectrum of expression with its own logic of evolution, expansion, continual generation. It was far and away the single most important body of work in the history of jazz.”

In his book, Jazz: America’s Classical Music, Grover Sales considers Duke Ellington the greatest composer in jazz, perhaps the nation’s greatest composer. Ted Gioia in his volume, The History of Jazz (Oxford University Press, 1997), refers to Ellington as a figure that influenced jazz in ways no other musician had done, declaring that “no later composer has matched the breadth, the depth, the inspiration of Ellington’s impressive oeuvre. And even when one casts a wider net, searching through the ranks of popular, academic, and classical composers, Ellington still stands among a select handful of masters—Copland, Gershwin, Ives, Joplin, Sousa—whose achievements represent the finest flowering of American music.”

Duke Ellington’s influence extended beyond jazz, even beyond music to art and literature, particularly poetry, as can be seen in the following poem by Quincy Troupe, written about the occasion of Ellington’s death on May 24 in 1974.


For Duke Ellington

that day began with a shower
of darkness, calling lightning rains
home to stone language
of thunderclaps, shattering, the high
blue, elegance, of space & time
where a broken-down, riderless, horse
with frayed wings
rode a sheer bone, sunbeam
road, down into the clouds

spoke wheels of lightning jagged
around the hours, & spun high up
above those clouds, duke wheeled
his chariot of piano keys
his spirit, now, levitated from flesh
& hovering over the music of most high
spoke to the silence
of a griot-shaman-man
who knew the wisdom of God

at high noon, the sun cracked
through the darkness, like a rifle shot
grew a beard of clouds on its livid, bald
face, hung down, noon, sky high
pivotal time of the flood-deep hours
as duke was pivotal, being a five in the nine
numbers of numerology
as his music was one of the crossroads
a cosmic mirror of rhythmic gri-gri

so get on up & fly away duke, bebop
slant & fade on in, strut, dance swing, riff
& float & stroke those tickling, gri-gri keys
those satin ladies taking the A train up
to harlem, those gri-gri keys
of birmingham, breakdown
sophisticated ladies, mood indigo
get on up & strut across, gri-gri
raise on up, your band's waiting

thunderclapping music, somersaulting
clouds, racing across the deep, blue wisdom
of God, listen, it is time for your intro, duke
into that other place, where the all-time great
band is waiting for your intro, duke
it is time for the Sacred Concert, duke
it is time to make the music of God, duke
we are listening for your intro, duke
so let the sacred music, begin

—Quincy Troupe

Visitors can listen to Quincy Troupe’s reading of “The Day Duke Raised: May 24th, 1974” at the Academy of American Poets’ web page.

1 comment:

Tad Richards said...

Powerful poem by Troupe, which I had not read.

Here's something I wrote about jazz and poetry for the Greenwood Encyclopedia: