Poetry by Michael L. Newell and John Stupp

August 14th, 2019

 

 

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Photo by. Marco Chilese .on. Unsplash

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Prayer to the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh

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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 silent Ohio
I know you don’t
overflowing with rainwater
and coal runoff
and locks and dams and levees and hills
a galaxy not a river that says nothing
until it reaches New Orleans
and then
in bed with whores and jazz musicians
dawn to dusk
what kind of example is that
strutting with some barbeque like Louis
and Kid Ory at a county fair
if God turns his head for a minute
you’re a drunken snake
licking the receding Mississippi
then giving birth to the sea like a pig
through your legs
I love
that you don’t think of me
not my bridges over your body
not my sky
not me washing your hair
not my Jesus and all that
but you do think of jazz
and the sun and the life I pray for

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by John Stupp

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Pianist and Her Listeners

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Her hands swept through the piano’s keys
like wind blowing snow through darkest night.
The music intoxicated listeners, as though
they were alone (sipping the finest cognac

in a room lit by a crackling fireplace)
with one special person whose whispered
words expanded the room into a universe
of two where flames were stars near and far;

when the hands stilled, the keys grew silent, all
in the room returned from imaginative worlds they
had visited, and craved skills to explore music’s cosmos
with unparalleled vigor and oceanic depth.

Each listener gladly would have exchanged long life
for one night of genius, one evening of perfection.

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by Michael L. Newell

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“Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting.”

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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 be published in 2018 by Main Street Rag. He lives near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. From 1975-1985 he worked professionally as a mediocre jazz guitarist.

 

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Michael L. Newell lives on the south-central Oregon coast.  He is a retired teacher.

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4 comments on “Poetry by Michael L. Newell and John Stupp”

  1. Two really cracking poems today! Both with a rush of emotion but in such different manners: in John’s poem from that exuberant “beat” flow, in Mike’s from the polished elegance of his un-rhymed sonnet.

  2. “overflowing with rainwater
    and coal runoff
    and locks and dams and levees and hills
    a galaxy not a river that says nothing
    until it reaches New Orleans
    and then
    in bed with whores and jazz musicians”

    I love the sweep of the passage quoted above.

  3. The poets I have published are rich, vibrant souls with a keen sense of humanity. That they connect this human spirit to their love of jazz has always astounded me. God bless all the poets for your contributions…
    JJM

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In this Issue

Interviews with three outstanding, acclaimed writers and scholars who discuss their books on Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Cole Porter, and their subjects’ lives in and out of music. These interviews – which each include photos and several full-length songs – provide readers easy access to an entertaining and enlightening learning experience about these three giants of American popular music.

Poetry

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.

Interview

NBC Radio-photo by Ray Lee Jackson / Public domain
In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview, acclaimed biographer James Kaplan (Frank: The Voice and Sinatra: The Chairman) talks about his book, Irving Berlin: New York Genius, and Berlin's unparalleled musical career and business success, his intense sense of family and patriotism during a complex and evolving time, and the artist's permanent cultural significance.

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Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Carl Van Vechten Collection
Richard Crawford’s Summertime: George Gershwin’s Life in Music is a rich, detailed and rewarding musical biography that describes Gershwin's work throughout every stage of his career. In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview, Crawford discusses his book and the man he has described as a “fresh voice of the Jazz Age” who “challenged Americans to rethink their assumptions about composition and performance, nationalism, cultural hierarchy, and the racial divide.”

Interview

photo unattributed/ Public domain
In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview with The Letters of Cole Porter co-author Dominic McHugh, he explains that “several of the big biographical tropes that we associate with Porter are either modified or contested by the letters,” and that “when you put together these letters, and add our quite extensive commentary between the letters, it creates a different picture of him.” Mr. McHugh discusses his book, and what the letters reveal about the life – in-and-out of music – of Cole Porter.

Book Excerpt

The introduction to John Burnside's The Music of Time: Poetry in the Twentieth Century – excerpted here in its entirety with the gracious consent of Princeton University Press – is the author's fascinating observation concerning the idea of how poets respond to what the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam called “the noise of time,” weaving it into a kind of music.

Short Fiction

photo Creative Commons CC0
Short Fiction Contest-winning story #53 — “Market & Fifth, San Francisco, 1986,” by Paul Perilli

Interview

photo by Bouna Ndaiye
Interview with Gerald Horne, author of Jazz and Justice: Racism and the Political Economy of the Music

Poetry

photo by Brian McMillen
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"Out West, Thinking About Miles Davis," by Charles Ingham
Ingham’s “Jazz Narratives” connect time, place, and subject in a way that ultimately allows the viewer a unique way of experiencing jazz history. This edition’s narratives are “"Exactly Where She Is Supposed to Be," "In Memory of Clora Bryant, Standing Outside the Downbeat,” and “Out West, Thinking About Miles Davis”

Book Excerpt

A ten page excerpt from The Letters of Cole Porter by Cliff Eisen and Dominic McHugh that features correspondence in the time frame of June to August, 1953, including those Porter had with George Byron (the man who married Jerome Kern’s widow), fellow writer Abe Burrows, Noel Coward, his secretary Madeline P. Smith, close friend Sam Stark, and his lawyer John Wharton.

Interview

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Con Chapman, author of Rabbit's Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges discusses the great Ellington saxophonist

Jazz History Quiz #134

Photo by Brian McMillen/Brian McMillen Photography
Influenced by Charlie Parker and Phil Woods (pictured), before forming his own group this alto player got his start in Buddy Rich’s Big Band, and shortly thereafter played with Lionel Hampton. While leading his own band, he was famous for playing bebop covers of songs such as “The I Love Lucy Theme,” “Come Fly With Me,” and “Hooray for Hollywood,” and often performed with singer Eddie Jefferson. Who is he?

Book Excerpt

This story, excerpted from Irving Berlin: New York Genius by James Kaplan, describes how Berlin came to write his first major hit song, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” and speaks to its historic musical and cultural significance.

Community

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Photography

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Veryl Oakland’s “Jazz in Available Light” — photos (and stories) of violinists Joe Venuti, Stephane Grappelli, Jean-Luc Ponty, Zbigniew Seifert, and Leroy Jenkins

Great Encounters

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In this edition of "Great Encounters," Con Chapman, author of Rabbit’s Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges, writes about Hodges’ early musical training, and the first meeting he had with Sidney Bechet, the influential and legendary reed player who Hodges called “tops in my book.”

Book Excerpt

In the introduction to Jazz and Justice: Racism and the Political Economy of the Music, author Gerald Horne writes about the severe cultural and economic obstacles jazz musicians have encountered since the music's inception

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In this edition, producer Helen Keane tells Michael Jarrett, author of Pressed For All Time: Producing the Great Jazz Albums about how the collaboration of Tony Bennett and Bill Evans began, culminating in the 1975 recording, The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album.

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In the Previous Issue

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“The Jazz Photography Issue” features an interview with today’s most eminent jazz portrait photographer Carol Friedman, news from Michael Cuscuna about newly released Francis Wolff photos, as well as archived interviews with William Gottlieb, Herman Leonard, Lee Tanner, a piece on Milt Hinton, a new edition of photos from Veryl Oakland, and much more…

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