Saturday, July 19, 2008

Poster poems: Listen to the music, write on

Poster poems: Listen to the music, write on

Any association of two items under the reference of "kissing cousins" is an unfortunate one, but Mills makes an excellent point in this piece. It is interesting that he doesn't mention Joyce or the music that his poems have been set to. Also check out people's responses to this post. There are myriad of songs and poems mentioned and posted in response this author's writing. The poem below is referenced in the post. You may clicked on it but I wanted to make sure it was available. Sandburg is one of my favorite poets. His Honey and Salt book is exceptional.

Carl Sandburg (1878–1967). Smoke and Steel. 1922.

III. Broken-Face Gargoyles
6. Jazz Fantasia

"DRUM on your drums, batter on your banjoes, sob on the long cool winding saxophones. Go to it, O jazzmen.

Sling your knuckles on the bottoms of the happy tin pans, let your trombones ooze, and go hushahusha-hush with the slippery sand-paper.

Moan like an autumn wind high in the lonesome tree-tops, moan soft like you wanted somebody terrible, cry like a racing car slipping away from a motorcycle cop, bang-bang! you jazzmen, bang altogether drums, traps, banjoes, horns, tin cans—make two people fight on the top of a stairway and scratch each other’s eyes in a clinch tumbling down the stairs.

Can the rough stuff … now a Mississippi steamboat pushes up the night river with a hoo-hoo-hoo-oo … and the green lanterns calling to the high soft stars … a red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills … go to it, O jazzmen."

1 comment:

BMills said...


Two or three things:

Kissing cousins was not my comment, but the sub-editor's.

Limitation of space meant I couldn't include Joyce (and a bunch of others) or a question on why so many good composers set so much bad poetry.

Thanks for noticing my article.