Choruses: Poems

Overview


Quincy Troupe launches a pyrotechnic display of jazz rhythms, political commentary, sports tributes, travelogues, and architectural abstracts in his latest volume of poetry, withChoruses. Merging traditional poetic form with contemporary content, Troupe fashions "words & sounds that build bridges toward a new tongue" , as he writes in "Song," an ars poetica. Only Troupe could write a sestina chronicling the mass suicide of Heaven's Gate, or a villanelle for Michael Jordan: "rising up in time, michael jordan ...
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Overview


Quincy Troupe launches a pyrotechnic display of jazz rhythms, political commentary, sports tributes, travelogues, and architectural abstracts in his latest volume of poetry, withChoruses. Merging traditional poetic form with contemporary content, Troupe fashions "words & sounds that build bridges toward a new tongue" , as he writes in "Song," an ars poetica. Only Troupe could write a sestina chronicling the mass suicide of Heaven's Gate, or a villanelle for Michael Jordan: "rising up in time, michael jordan hangs like an ikon, suspended in space / / his eyes two radar screens screwed like nails into the mask of his face." A masterful technician, Troupe experiments with free verse as well, repeating the same words in three different line-break configurations in "Images: Three Variations of Shape & Form." From haiku to tonka, from Mark McGwire to Sammy Sosa, from bebop to hip hop, these choruses "become sound tracks lifted off a poet's tongue, / / syllables, within moments, are transformed into song..."

"Troupe's sixth collection covers a wide cultureal bandwidth: the Monica-gate scandal, the Heaven's Gate mass suicide; jazz greats like Miles Davis (Troupe's Miles: The Biography is the standard) and Richard Muhal Abrams; sports stars like Michael Jordon, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire; lesser know artists like GeorgeLEwis & the Dancers at Laguna Pueblo, painter Robert Colescott and many more. Perhaps to formally mirror the mix, Troupe puts sonnets, villanelles and sestinas in the midst of his more characteristic jazz-inflected free-verse lines. The best poems here, however, eschew traditional European forms, and foreground Troupe's mastery of a sprawling American vernacular: "the tongue in his hands now was once a saxophone when whole,/ was a blur of fingers whooshing through golden keys of his voice belling/ . . . .conjures up spirits, the drumbeat of strong hearts goosing everything along." Troupe doesn't quite go as far into uninhibited linguistic musicality as, say, Clark Coolidge, Will Alexander or the best rhapsodic passages in Kerouac. Yet his unwillingness to forgo teh referential severrs a powerful didactic function beyond "the tough aesthetics" of contemporary poetry, as Troupe often employ

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Editorial Reviews

Bloomsbury Review
Quincy Troupe is a dour de force of nervous energy.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Troupe's sixth collection covers a wide cultural bandwidth: the Monica-gate scandal, the Heaven's Gate mass suicide; jazz greats like Miles Davis (Troupe's Miles: The Biography is the standard) and Richard Muhal Abrams; sports stars like Michael Jordan, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire; lesser known artists George Lewis & the Dancers at Laguna Pueblo, painter Robert Colescott and many more. Perhaps to formally mirror the mix, Troupe puts sonnets, villanelles and sestinas in the midst of his more characteristic jazz-inflected free-verse lines. The best poems here, however, eschew traditional European forms, and foreground Troupe's mastery of a sprawling American vernacular: "the tongue in his hands now was once a saxophone when whole,/ was a blur of fingers whooshing through golden keys of his voice belling/....conjures up spirits, the drumbeat of strong hearts goosing everything along." Troupe doesn't quite go as far into uninhibited linguistic musicality as, say, Clark Coolidge, Will Alexander or the best rhapsodic passages in Kerouac. Yet his unwillingness to forgo the referential serves a powerful didactic function beyond "the tough aesthetics" of contemporary poetry, as Troupe often employs the golden age of jazz to challenge the de-humanizing greed of white, corporate America, as well as the way "rap reduced rhythms down to scratching old records & words,/ skating over samples..." The direct political verse of "America's Business: A Simple Prayer" is well-balanced by a series of poems commissioned for the Point Loma Waste Water Management Project in San Diego, Calif., where some tankas and haikus found here are also inscribed underground, to be seen only by construction workers. In all, the book's five sections "blow out an endless supply/ of edible solos," varied and deftly sung. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
It comes as no surprise (if readers didn't know already) that Troupe has worked closely with Miles Davis; in his five volumes of poetry (out of nine books), he unspools long, luscious lines of verse like the wailing of a trumpet. Ever inventive, Troupe here includes works done collaboratively with other artists for a theater project and for the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant in San Diego. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566890908
  • Publisher: Coffee House Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/1999
  • Pages: 112
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author


Featured on two PBS poetry series, Troupe is the author of seven volumes of poetry including Transcircularities, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and Minnesotabased Talking Volumes bookclub selection. In addition to children's books on Magic Johnson and Stevie Wonder, Troupe chronicled his friendship with Miles Davis in Miles and Me, soon to be a feature film.
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Table of Contents

Song 13
Sestina for 39 Silent Angels 14
Forty-One Seconds on a Sunday in June, in Salt Lake City, Utah 16
Swinging for Glory 17
Faces 19
Can you Chain your Voice to a River? 20
Gray Day in January in La Jolla 27
America's Business: A Simple Prayer 29
"So What" 31
Image & Remembrance 33
Witnesses 34
Signals & Demarcations 35
Looking out Between Thinking 37
Time Line of Breath & Music 40
Two for the Piano Players at the Spruce Street Forum 42
Tempus Fugit/C.T.A. 45
Synchronicity in Bologna, Italy 46
Robert Colescott's "One-Two Punch" at the Venice Beinale 49
Sighting Birds at the Beach 52
Whenever Eye Walk by 54
Style is 55
Mother 56
The Silver Flower in Bilbao 59
Jerez de la Franterea 60
The Point Loma Poems: Written for the Wastewater Management Project 67
The Point Loma Series of Haikus & Tankas 74
Your Lover's Eyes Speak 76
Just Beneath the Promontory 76
Come Closer 77
Broken in Parts 81
Festival Day at Laguna Pueblo 86
Poem for a Voice Always in Prayer 93
Bells 96
Choruses 101
Words that Build Bridges Toward a New Tongue 106
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