Poems by Susan Spear and David Dephy

March 4th, 2020

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Trumpet Player,” by James Brewer

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Mist

Standing in front of the mist, trying to hear something
from outside of silence—expecting a miracle at dawn,

my heart is whispering to me: “The only two things that matter—
what your goal is and how can you achieve it, ‘cause talent

is regularly in peril, as the homeland, it evokes enmity,
beauty is regularly in peril, as the kindness, it evokes disgust,

freedom is regularly in peril, as the love, it evokes fear
and wishes no longer resemble dreams, nor we ourselves,

the answer to questions always lays in front and freezes
and burns the same.” Standing in front of the mist,

trying to hear something from outside of silence—
I feel my heart as I feel joy, I feel like Charlie Parker.

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By.David Dephy

 

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Blue Midnight
……………………after Paul Motian

……………………(for Colin Stranahan)

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They slip in from the sidewalk one by one
as the day dims to brown. Some stake tables
near the stage, some lean against the bar.

Spot lights burn like suns on the drums
and baby grand. Amber whiskey glistens.
Jazz fans sip, waiting for the blues.

When the tunes begin, the strangers
lean in, begin to pulse and sway, in sync.
The pianist plays a fast, flat-fingered riff.

With finesse, the spike-haired drummer
solos. His cymbals sing, shimmering.
A killer bass line conjures jazz gigs gone,
and then a slender ghost commands the scene,
playing through the changes. A woman claps.
He laughs, nods to the crowd and disappears.

The woman bites her lip and runs her finger
around her glass, stained red with pinot noir.
The crowd is on its feet, “More, encore.”

Notes soar and burst, then die like fireworks
in a darkening sky. The house lights rise.
The lonely leave alone—and slip into blue midnight.

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…………………………………….f first appeared in Verse Virtual, April, 2018

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By Susan Spear

 

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photo by Donna Termini

David Dephy is a trilingual Georgian/American award-winning poet, novelist, essayist, performer, multimedia artist.  He is the winner of the 2019 Spillwords Press Poetry Award for June’s Publication of the Month and a finalist of the Adelaide Literary Award Anthology 2019 for the category of Best Poem. His works have been published and anthologized in the USA and all over the world by the many literary magazines, journals and publishing houses. He lives and works in New York City.

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Susan.Delaney.Spear.earned an MFA in 2012 from Western Colorado State University. She is an Associate Professor and English Department Chair at Colorado Christian University. .Beyond All Bearing, her first collection, was published by Wipf and Stock in 2018.

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“Trumpet Player” painting courtesy of James Brewer

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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.

Interview

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
"Our Father, Who Art McCoy Tyner" -- a poem by John Stupp

Art

"Speaking in Tongues" by Charles Ingham
Charles 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 “Released from Camarillo State Hospital, Charlie Parker Plays Jack’s Basket Room,”“Diz Railing at the Cosmos,” and “Speaking in Tongues”

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

News about the poet Arlene Corwin

Photography

photo of Stephane Grappelli by Veryl Oakland
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

photo of Sidney Bechet by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
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

“What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?”

"What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?"
Dianne Reeves, Nate Chinen, Gary Giddins, Michael Cuscuna, Eliane Elias and Ashley Kahn are among the 12 writers, musicians, and music executives who list and write about their favorite Blue Note albums

Pressed for All Time

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.

Humor

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
"Every Soul is a Circus," by Dig Wayne

In the Previous Issue

photo by Carol Friedman
“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…

Contributing writers

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