The passing of poet Steve Dalachinsky

October 10th, 2019

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photo by David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons

Steve Dalachinsky, 1946 – 2019

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…..I returned from a month long vacation on Tuesday, and learned via email of very sad news, the September 16 passing of Steve Dalachinsky, the brilliant New York-based avant-garde poet whose work I often proudly published on Jerry Jazz Musician.

…..Steve was a fixture in the New York avant-garde jazz club scene, and much of his poetry was inspired by the music he experienced there.  In Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times obituary of Steve, he writes that when Dalachinsky wasn’t reading his poetry in New York’s jazz clubs, he “was there, encouraging and absorbing the work of others, especially free jazz musicians, who were part of a scene he documented in a long-running monthly column for The Brooklyn Rail.”

…..I got to know Steve a couple years ago through an email correspondence, during which we steadily built trust in one another, select poems were published, and we eventually even collaborated on a monthly series that paired his poetry with some of his imaginative collage work.  You can click here to be taken to all of the Jerry Jazz Musician posts Steve’s work appears on.

…..In the introduction to his 2008 book of jazz poetry Reaching Into the Unknown — a collaboration with French photographer Jacques Bisceglia — Steve wrote;  “I was asked why I chose the title Reaching Into the Unknown. Simple. It exemplifies all we do in life. Every second. When we talk. Eat. When Jacques clicks the shutter or I pick up my pen to write. When the musicians pick up their instruments to play. Always something new. Another unknown challenge. We reach. Shoot. Capture. Taste. Document. So as to preserve some small record of the event before, as Dolphy put it, it’s gone.”

 

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On Lonny’s Lament
                       (for Billy Bang)

 

 beckon / become
there’s the ram’s horn
the golden calf
…..a lament
………become these strings
…………that thought
…………..lament

a horn / a statue
remain empty / brought to lips
……exhaled
………wears away
………..expelled / womb
empty crime / gut less self
……….inhale
the song that sometimes comes out wrong
……..so you do it your way
……….i do it my way
 ……..this way it becomes a thing. mine. yours.
 …….. ……..memory’s.

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by Steve Dalachinsky  

…………………………………originally appeared in Reaching into the Unknown

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Dalachinsky the Jazz Cat
Always Swinging

Man, that cat could
swing with words!

Yeah, that Dalachinsky
hung and swayed with
the coolest
jazz hipsters

every jazz word fest
on the lower East side
he’d be there

Sax would be wailing
Scat be bopping swing
Bass hanging low
on the back-beat

And the Dalachinsky cat,
not missing a beat
way dug in the groove

with words that soared
ascending arpeggio
in a minor scale
of
lilac
……………..blues
sublime swinging.

his love, poems, and life
guided by his
incomparable love
……………..Yuko

When heaven’s Café
opens its doors
All the cats & kitties
sitting in
Miles, the Bird,
the Prez, Trane …

Yeah, that jazz
word hipster
Dalachinsky
would be
word
wailing
and bopping.

I dig that jazz word
……………..hipster.
Dalachinksy

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by Namaya the Jazz Poet

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Steve Dalachinsky’s Wikipedia page

Read Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times obiturary of Dalachinsky

Nate Chinen of WBGO remembers Dalachinsky

 

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