Ever since its first flowering, jazz has had a powerful influence on American poetry; this scintillating anthology offers a treasury of poems that are as varied and as vital as the music that inspired them.
From the Harlem Renaissance to the beat movement, from the poets of the New York school to the contemporary poetry scene, the jazz aesthetic has been a compelling literary force—one that Jazz Poems
makes palpable. We hear it in the poems of Langston Hughes, E. E. cummings, William Carlos Williams, Frank O’Hara, and Gwendolyn Brooks, and in those of Yusef Komunyakaa, Charles Simic, Rita Dove, Ntozake Shange, Mark Doty, William Matthews, and C. D. Wright. Here are poems that pay tribute to jazz’s great voices, and poems that throb with the vivid rhythm and energy of the jazz tradition, ranging in tone from mournful elegy to sheer celebration.