News about the poet Arlene Corwin

January 27th, 2020

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Arlene Corwin

 

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…..The community of artists who contribute their work to Jerry Jazz Musician are a special collection of brilliant creators who most often share their souls within the “comfort” of their poetry and prose.  .Skilled writing ain’t easy or cheap, but it provides a willing practitioner a meaningful way in which to communicate their emotional lives, and their life’s triumphs and challenges.

…..Take, for example, Arlene Corwin, a prolific and noted poet — author of 19 books of poetry — who has also been a jazz musician since 1951.  Her love affair with jazz music, in fact, goes back to the days of when her mother owned a jazz club with Slim Gaillard in Hempstead, Long Island called The Turf.  I receive emails from Arlene now and again that most always include newly created poems consistently resonating vigor, wisdom and joy.

…..An email I received from her recently, however, communicated something else — sheer courage.

…..The email included links to two videos she recently created, in which she informs viewers of a significant health event that would test the resolve and spirit of anyone.

…..Arlene tells us that in August, she “collapsed” and lapsed into a coma for a month.  When she awoke in the hospital, she discovered seven fingers had been amputated, four on her right hand, three-and-a-half on her left.

…..Arlene is a pianist…

…..Imagine  how that must feel…the horror, the sadness, the challenge of such a shocking life event, and the strength required to overcome…

…..After three months in the hospital, Arlene returned home, and fortunately, her intellect remains sharp, allowing her to respond to this event creatively, by writing poetry, and yes, by playing the piano.

…..The videos embedded below are courageous and uplifting.  In one, Arlene reads several of her poems and talks about her incident.  In the other, she plays the piano and sings “Sweet Lorraine.”

…..I encourage you to take ten minutes and view these videos and share with your friends and family.  Thanks to Arlene for sharing these, and wishing you strength and blessings…

 

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Arlene Corwin describes her health incident, and reads her poem, “Now and Then, How I Miss…”, which is also published below.  (She reads other poems at the outset of the video)

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Arlene plays “Sweet Lorraine”

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Now & Then, How I Miss…

I practice living the Now.
But now and then
I miss the old Arlene
Who had ten
fingers;
Who could play arpeggios
With ease:
Adagios, capriccios,
Effortlessly
Trouble-free.

Un-nostalgic, chanced to see
And old Youtube of Arlene-me
Singing, playing“All God’s Chillun” speedily,
Gleeful, musical and jazzy.
Wound up teary-eyed.

With just three left to play with:
Thumb and index on the left, a lonely thumb the right,
Filled with weakness
I can play a swinging bass
With Monk-like dissonance between,
The right thumb not at all a small dumb finger.

The trick will be to sow creativeness anew.
Augment, stretch, grow and not go into
Any other place than Now
(if Now at all can be referred to
as a ‘place’.
I rather think of it as space).

In any case,
I was a little sad today;
The old Arlene who cannot play
The way she used to,
Caused by nature’s vagary.

Dear reader, please forget
This sentimental, reminiscent “…How I Miss…”
A useless business at the very least.

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by Arlene Corwin

 

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3 comments on “News about the poet Arlene Corwin”

  1. Dear Arlene. I always liked your poems a lot. I just had to say something, as I just read the
    article and poem for the first time … It is beyond comprehension, and makes the arthritis problems
    I have had with my fingers at 72, to not play the trumpet for a couple of weeks, a totally minor thing
    for now. Grace to you for having such incredible strength. One thing that came to mind was
    that for many years I have listened to Django Reinhardt. Possibly, his music might grace
    you with even more strength. Sincere, Best Wishes, Alan.

  2. Dear Arlene,
    We were so touched to see your short “films”. It’s so great to see that you keep on “living” in spite of your finger problems ….

    We hope to see you in a consert soon …

    /Love Thomas and Elisabeth i Landvetter

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