Michael L. Newell
sits on a shelf, forgotten save when I open
the closet, and feel my aching knees complain
of hours spent crouched behind home plate
where I had no thought of any consequence
other than winning or losing
April 2nd, 2020
Rain sang off the roof for hours. The ancient on the porch rocked, strummed his guitar, whispered, “Make Me a Pallet on the Floor,” one minute sounding like Sam Chatmon, the next his licks would have made Mance Lipscomb proud....
March 2nd, 2020
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....
February 17th, 2020
In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview, Con Chapman, author of Rabbit’s Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges – the first-ever biography of the immortal musician – talks about the enigmatic man and his unforgettable sound....
January 5th, 2020
It was a rainy Thanksgiving when
everyone I was related to
or knew even somewhat
were out of town.
I found some semi-edible
turkey at Hughes Market, along
with frozen stuffing that proved
reasonably tasty, adequate
November 28th, 2019
. . Photo by. Marco Chilese .on. Unsplash . . Prayer to the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh . 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 … Continue reading “Poetry by Michael L. Newell and John Stupp”...
August 14th, 2019
all night I dreamed I was lost
at sea in an alley on a battlefield
in a junkyard in a waterfront dive
when suddenly I found a room
filled with music where fear
was eased where losses were mourned
June 28th, 2019
This month, in a special collection of poetry, eight poets contribute seventeen poems focused on stories about family, and honoring mothers and fathers...
May 8th, 2019
choirs of insects serenade night
couples bury faces in lovers’ hair
distant train’s cry soars through dark
May 2nd, 2019
Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, discusses her late husband’s complex, fascinating life....
April 11th, 2019
Gary Giddins, Jimmy Heath, Fred Hersch, Joe Hagan, Maxine Gordon, Tim Page, Veronica Swift and Marcus Strickland are among the 25 writers, musicians, poets, educators, and photographers who responded to our question, “What are some of your favorite record album covers of all time?”...
March 12th, 2019
Twelve poets contribute 15 poems to this month’s collection...
February 5th, 2019
. . . . SERENDIPITY As I walk down the dirt road from my job, headed slowly home, I pass a few people wandering here and there as their work day ends; I amble past an old home with a corrugated metal roof, bricks holding down the sheets of metal from blowing away, a … Continue reading ““Serendipity” — a poem by Michael L. Newell”...
February 1st, 2019
. . In this collection, nine poets contribute ten poems celebrating jazz in poems as unique as the music itself . . . . I Am Jazz . I Am Jazz. It is my nature to evolve, to change and adapt. I’m restless. I move towards a future I cannot see or predict. … Continue reading “A collection of poetry celebrating the culture of jazz — January, 2019”...
January 7th, 2019
. . . . AS DAY ENDS . Clark Terry’s horn unleashes a silvery note ……………….that ascends ………………………ever higher ………………………………to join a golden full moon ………………………………………rising into early evening orbit. When the note ends, listeners discover they have forgotten ……………….to breathe, ………………………and slowly rejoin ………………………………………their quiet neighborhood and prepare for sleep ………where they will drift … Continue reading “Two poems for the New Year…by Alan Yount and Michael L. Newell”...
December 31st, 2018
. . 12 poets contribute 19 poems dedicated to the culture of jazz music, and to the holiday season… . . Collage by Steve Dalachinsky 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 … Continue reading “Poetry celebrating jazz and the holiday season”...
December 14th, 2018
SONGBIRD a blues note broken in the middle the songbird in the brambles startled into silence shame for the intrusion all autumn I have wandered in search of a music which would still this dull grief for every person I see wandering alone every child I see looking at the world with a … Continue reading ““Songbird” — a poem by Michael L. Newell”...
December 14th, 2018
Jerry Jazz Musician is fortunate to have had hundreds of accomplished writers and poets submit their work for consideration of publication during this calendar year. Many thanks to everyone who thinks enough of this website to desire sharing their creative vision with our readers. The works published are outstanding examples of the connections that exist between jazz music, its culture, and the literary arts.
I am proud to report that I have nominated six exceptional published pieces for the prestigious...
December 4th, 2018
two hepcats scat sing
drum the hippest
of hip music
advertise “Love for Sale”
in wild musical riffs
dancing through air
nothing held back
all is passion
total physical commitment
November 9th, 2018
I am always happy to report when a writer published on Jerry Jazz Musician finds success with their work. Michael L. Newell informs me that a new book of his poetry, “Meditation of an Old Man Standing on a Bridge,” is now available from Seattle’s Bellowing Ark Press. This is particularly rewarding as I have proudly published many of the poems Michael has submitted to me since 2015 – two of which appear in this collection.
Michael’s poetry is a gift to those of us who love and appreciate the culture inspired by jazz music. His creative spirit is aligned with those musicians he writes about, maintaining a sensitivity critical to communicating the music’s cultural aesthetic.
Whenever I receive submissions from Michael, I know I will be reading the poetry of a well-traveled man whose work can lead me anywhere – a rainy window in Kigali, a snowy stroll in Tashkent, a Christmas spent alone in Jordan, a puzzling evening in...
September 22nd, 2018
In early morning silence,
breathing is audible.
Steam rises from tea.
A train’s whistle moans
in the distance, and I
whisper to the night
secrets I share with...
September 6th, 2018
wind howls through trees round
corners shaking bushes windows eaves
lightning fractures night and all
you locked up in memory too fragile
to be handled comes tumbling out
July 26th, 2018
Midnight and we sail on a boundless sea
nothing in sight but a vast pool of black
dimly lit by starlight sprawled without end
June 28th, 2018
The carpenter (whose hands have grown
too large for the twenty house town
he was born in) sticks out his thumb
and catches a jet to Los Angeles where
he drowns off the Santa Monica beach trying
to ride a wave to beautiful downtown Burbank.
His sister stays home and marries
the county’s star high school running back
who turns into the
June 2nd, 2018
The wind blew all afternoon,
blue my mood, moody the blues
on the box, bleak and blue when
Robert Johnson took over the airwaves;
the wind blew louder and then
May 3rd, 2018
April 15th, 2018
In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, I recently invited many of our contributing poets to submit work that combines the themes of jazz music and love, with the result being a collection of voices expressing their own contributions to the language of love…
Dozens of writers submitted over 100 poems, and the best of the submissions — 29 poems by 18 poets — are found on the following 12 pages. Advance through the selections by utilizing the page monitor at the bottom of each page.
Many thanks to everyone who submitted their work.
February 14th, 2018
A wealth of excellent poetry has been submitted recently. Poems by Steven Dalachinsky, Michael L. Newell, John Stupp, Ron Kolm, and Freddington are examples…...
January 29th, 2018
(in response to an invitation
musical and raucous from the fingers
of Wild Bill Davis tickling the keys
of his organ seeking a musical response
by someone and something of equal stature)
Illinois I say accepted the challenge and blew
some blue some very blue blue blue notes
that set listeners
January 19th, 2018
The slow tumble of snow past
my partially open window
recalls the year in Amman
I sat for hours watching
a bleak whiteness deepen
all through the abandoned farm fields
surrounding my apartment
while the cool sound of Miles
gave shape and form to my grief
thousands of miles from
December 19th, 2017
December 6th, 2017
Jerry Jazz Musician is fortunate to have had hundreds of accomplished writers and poets submit their work for consideration of publication during this calendar year. Thanks to everyone who thinks enough of this website to desire sharing their creative vision with our readers. The works published are outstanding examples of the connections that exist between jazz music, its culture, and the literary arts.
I am proud to report that I have nominated six exceptional published pieces for the prestigious Pushcart Prize, and they are...
November 29th, 2017
September 28th, 2017
all day a light breeze baptizes the landscape
gentle and captivating as a Paul Desmond solo
bushes rap windows and walls with rhythms
unusual and unexpected that Joe Morello would
approve would groove to and trees sway with...
September 1st, 2017
piano dances listeners down the street
feet must move to keep up
crowds gather round
street life jumping this way and that...
July 1st, 2017
full of bees again,
flapping in a stuttering breeze,
high up on...
June 12th, 2017
May 18th, 2017
IT WAS ALL ABOUT SAX
when man said the wind man
blowing when does the wind do
its voodoo upon leaf and bud
bloody the morning the storm
warning it is on its way its windy
winding wickedly roaring crack
thunder and snap way paving
the air for
April 12th, 2017
swing swagger and sway
she bop she bop drift those feet
first one way then another
swirl round and round and back again
light up the floor fly up above
March 13th, 2017
a leaf flutters rises and glides
to its rest a blues note
in autumn as a slow rain falls
at the end of a windy day
and a scattering of distant
January 11th, 2017
Her voice shredded, turned to gravel
by cigarettes and whiskey, she navigates
grocery aisles and checkout lines
as sotto voce she sings old songs
both jazz and country. People stare
in amazement as her ruined voice
elicits tears from listening bystanders.
In her living room she croons with
December 10th, 2016
A marsh harrier soars above the Norfolk broads
circling higher and higher
rather like a Gillespie trumpet solo that rises and rises
to dizzying heights of pitch and volume
eventually the bird slides behind billowing clouds
and vanishes into distance
so the trumpet reaches and...
October 4th, 2016
Rikki spun, spun
and leaped, twirled
on the jukebox, the small
bar filled with smoke, clinking
glasses, Filipinas in short dresses,
and a couple dozen G.I.’s profane,
obscene, and three-quarters in the bag;
Rikki, half-black, half-
Filipino, ten, living
in alleys and under bars, danced
August 25th, 2016
Playing bottleneck guitar, an octogenarian.
His arthritic fingers coax a life’s history,
ring changes of love and loss,
sketch joy’s birth in pain,
the rhythm an invitation...
July 25th, 2016
Oh, Mister Silver, please please please,
don’t make me beat my feet
no more no more no more.
I’ve been finger poppin’, thinking
about Juicy Lucy, dreaming
of some sweet stuff,
wanting to come on home to some...
April 9th, 2016
the pain contained within those
seemingly effortless sounds
lifts us from our couches
to applaud years
after the event
the tone arches stretches slinks struts
leaps to fence tops and deftly prances
December 18th, 2015