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Grace Schulman | The Jazz Poems of Grace Schulman

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Spoken Word: Poetry Spoken Word: Poetry Moods: Mood: Intellectual
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The Jazz Poems of Grace Schulman

by Grace Schulman

2016 Robert Frost Medal winner (Poetry Society of America) Grace Schulman introduces and reads 10 of her poems dealing with jazz.
Genre: Spoken Word: Poetry
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  Song Share Time Download
1. A Love Supreme
1:59 $0.99
2. Art Tatum at the Gee-Haw Stable
1:52 $0.99
3. Blue and Green
2:13 $0.99
4. Cool Jazz
1:35 $0.99
5. God Bless the Child
2:09 $0.99
6. Shadow
2:12 $0.99
7. Street Music Astor Place
2:19 $0.99
8. The Broken String
2:30 $0.99
9. Thelonius Himself
2:33 $0.99
10. Yellow for Chris Albertson
2:27 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"The Jazz Poems of Grace Schulman" was an official selection of the 2017 HEAR Now Festival. It also received a Silver Certificate as part of the "HEAR Now Festival Podcast Palooza" which runs through August 1, 2017. The festival and the podcast is sponsored by the National Audio Theatre Festivals (NATF) which serves the advancement of audio theatre and evolving media arts through education and presentation.

Several of the album's tracks have been selected for broadcast by Chicago-based jazz journalist and producer Neil Tesser on his show, part of WFMT's Jazz Network. This Jazz Network is heard on more than 300 radio stations in 28 states plus Puerto Rico and China.

Of this album, Grace Schulman says: "Jazz has dominated my life and work as long as I can remember, especially John Coltrane’s prayerful chords, Art Tatum’s quicksilver arpeggios, Billie’s high-lows, and Coltrane's improvisations in 'Kind of Blue,' of which I wrote: “if only my heart could teach my hands to play / and get it right on the first take.” In writing about each one, I hoped that I could capture something of the sound in my words – not how it felt, not even its larger implications, but the amazing sound.

"It was Thelonius Monk, though, who changed my life. Before I found my vocation as a writer and teacher of poetry, I covered books for a fashion magazine. I saw around me strangled waists, sleek heads, and breadknife heels. Then one night I heard the Monk play in a club on Astor Place, thumps, craggy runs, one-finger-jabs on keys that were hot pans, heels dug in wood, soles flapping like seals. Suddenly, he snapped his fingers and shaped pain and joy into order. That was form. Not the superimposition of form, unrequired and pasted on, but this urgent shaping out of darkness that came from the welling up of intense emotion. To capture my amazement, I wrote it this way in 'Thelonius Himself':

And all was void, as before Creation
and there was light. I left the job next day.

"In short, I’ve been drawn to jazz not only for the excitement of the music but for its impact on people’s lives. Like all great art it has the power of metaphor. In the title of my earlier poetry collection, The Paintings of Our Lives, I intended “our lives” to emphasize human insights, either of the painter or the viewer, occasioned by great paintings. So it is with jazz. I will listen to jazz as long as I have the privilege of writing poems, and I hope to be doing both for the rest of my days."

Grace Schulman
April 2017

Grace Schulman was awarded the 2016 Frost Medal for Distinguished Lifetime Achievement in American Poetry, by the Poetry Society of America. Her latest of seven books of poems is Without a Claim, (Mariner, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013). Her recent collection of essays is First Loves and Other Adventures (U of Michigan Press, 2010). She is the author of Days of Wonder: New and Selected Poems, which was selected by Library Journal as one of the “best poetry books” of 2002, and was a finalist for the Phi Beta Kappa Award of that year; and The Paintings of Our Lives, a selection of the Academy of American Poets’ Book Club. Among her honors are the Aiken Taylor Award for poetry, the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, four Pushcart Prizes, New York University's Distinguished Alumni Award, and a Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Editor of The Poems of Marianne Moore (Viking, 2003), Schulman is Distinguished Professor of English at Baruch College, CUNY. She is former director of the Poetry Center, 92nd Street Y, 1974-84, and former poetry editor of The Nation, 1971-2006.



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