Art Works Blog

From the Archives: All That Jazz... and Poetry!

Are you short on time but want to celebrate both Jazz Appreciation Month AND National Poetry Month? We can help with that! Click on the name of the poem to read the enire text. 

line from a poem by Jayne Cortez

"…Hawk melodicized my ear of infatuated tongues/ & Blakey drummed militant messages in/ soul of my applauding teeth / & Ray hit bass notes to the last love seat in my bones." — Jayne Cortez, "Jazz Fan Looks Back"

line from a poem by Jimmy Santiago Baca

"Listening to jazz now, I’m happy/ sun shining outside like it was my lifetime achievement award." — Jimmy Santiago Baca, "Listening to jazz now"

line from a poem by Yusef Komunyakaa

"I can’t help but walk over/ & lean into the doorway,/ & then raise a phantom alto/ to my lips." — Yusef Komunyakaa, "The Last Bohemian of Avenue A"

line from a poem by Philip Levine

"…the lights/ lowered, and breath gathered/ for the coming storm. Then nothing,/ not a single note." — Philip Levine, "On 52nd Street"

line from a poem by Sonia Sanchez

"...when she came on the stage, this Ella/ there were rumors of hurricanes and/ over the rooftops of concert stages/the moon turned red in the sky." — Sonia Sanchez, "A Poem for Ella Fitzgerald"

line from a poem by Campbell McGrath

"Stone by stone, note by note, atom by atom, noun by noun,/Bird is building a metropolis with his horn." — Campbell McGrath, "Charlie Parker (1950)"

line from a poem by Lynda Hull

Women smoked the boulevards/ with gardenias after-hours, asphalt shower-/ slick, ozone charging air with sixteenth/ notes,.." — Lynda Hull, "Ornithology"

Were you able to spot the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters celebrated in some of the poems above? Learn more about the master artists who've received an NEA Jazz Master Fellowship, the highest honor the country gives for jazz musicians and advocates here. 


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