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Poetry. Music. Love of music and honor for musicians are the heart of COLTRANE'S GOD, Donald Levering's 7th full-length collection of poems. In his joyful tribute to people's "language of emotion," country, blues, and jazz accompany life's knocks and peaks. Among the players are a street busker wailing laments in the rain, a choir boy whose voice is changing, an itinerant fiddler at a WPA work camp, romping barrelhouse piano players, and a woman singing scat in a tram tunnel. A prose opening section humorously recalls the author's childhood introduction to music in the context of his family and the era. One of the book's motifs is "ear worms," music that gets stuck in your head, ranging from Mozart to "The Bristol Stomp" to Oliver Nelson's scales of braided horns. In the title poem, the voice of the god of John Coltrane admonishes the famed sax player to "blister their ears with arpeggios." As in his other books, Levering's prosody is delightfully musical."These are poems of homage, not just to musicians from city-street buskers and country fiddle players to jazz greats and classical composers, but music itself as nourishment and companion to the imagination. Levering's devotion is evident in the eclecticism and easy knowledge his poems convey. And they evoke that extra ingredient that can make us stop in our tracks when hearing an almost forgotten song—nostalgia, the interweaving of song into the larger fabric of one's life. Through imagery and finely tuned language, Levering has managed to re-create his experience of music into experience one can access as easily as notes overheard from an open window."—Leslie Ullman, Winner of the Yale Younger Poets Award and the Iowa Poetry Prize"Levering's COLTRANE'S GOD is a hip, historical collection of "flatted thirds and sevenths," full of those characteristic, jazzy blue notes, poems sung as if through saxophone and smoke. Levering has an ear and eye for jazz, and what he writes here is part history, part song, following a lineage of jazz poets, including Hughes, Kerouac, Baraka, Carruth, Harper, and Mackey."—Kevin Rabas, Author ofBird's Horn (Coal City Review Press, 2007)"COLTRANE'S GOD is an informative, highly original, and insightful collection of poems and a fitting testament to Levering's passion for "music" in its manifestations as the purest "voice" of the human soul. His allusions are both exhaustive and spot-on, from Beethoven and Telemann to The Beatles and Chuck Berry; from Schubert and Tchaikovsky to Robert Johnson and Bill Monroe. The sounds of the natural world are also celebrated: Levering writes of "whale song,""cricket chirp,""bat click,""swallow titter" and the "trilling of the red-winged blackbird." Levering's mellifluous diction is the verbal equivalent of Coltrane's "sheets of sound." COLTRANE'S GOD is a stunning poetic achievement."—Larry D. Thomas, Member, Texas Institute of Letters, 2008 Texas Poet Laureate
Number of Pages: 64
Publisher: Small Pr Distribution
Author: Donald Levering
Street Date: December 15, 2015
Item Number (DPCI): 248-13-1294
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