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Testimony, a Tribute to Charlie Parker: With New and Selected Jazz Poems

Overview

Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa is well known for his jazz poetry, and this book is the first to bring together the verve and vitality of his oeuvre. The centerpiece of this volume is the libretto “Testimony.” Paying homage to Charlie Parker, “Testimony” was commissioned for a radio drama with original music by eminent Australian composer and saxophonist Sandy Evans. Remarkably rich and evocative, encompassing a wide range of musical energy and performers, this moving affirmation of Parker’s genius ...
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Testimony, A Tribute to Charlie Parker: With New and Selected Jazz Poems

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Overview

Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa is well known for his jazz poetry, and this book is the first to bring together the verve and vitality of his oeuvre. The centerpiece of this volume is the libretto “Testimony.” Paying homage to Charlie Parker, “Testimony” was commissioned for a radio drama with original music by eminent Australian composer and saxophonist Sandy Evans. Remarkably rich and evocative, encompassing a wide range of musical energy and performers, this moving affirmation of Parker’s genius became a milestone in contemporary radio theater. Twenty-eight additional poems spanning the breadth of Komunyakaa’s career are included, including two never previously published. Accompanying the poems are interviews and essays featuring Komunyakaa, Evans, radio producer Christopher Williams, jazz critic Miriam Zolin, jazz writer and editor Sascha Feinstein, and musical director, Paul Grabowsky. Sascha Feinstein writes the foreword. The print edition includes two CDs with the entire Australian Broadcast Company recording of Testimony, ebook contains imbedded audio. Check for the online reader’s companion at testimony.site.wesleyan.edu.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Comprising of 14 sonnet-like stanzas, Komunyakaa’s narrative poem Testimony celebrates the life and legacy of jazz legend Charlie Parker. … This present book reprints the title poem along with a healthy sampling of about 50 of this Pulitzer Prize-winning poet’s other jazz poems. In a foreword, Sascha Feinstein—poet, editor, and close associate of Komunyakaa—provides a history of the Testimony project. Recommended (for) upper-division undergraduates and above.”
—B. Wallenstein, Choice

“Testimony… describes jazz as a country, a way of life, a sexuality, a spirituality.”
—Joseph Hoover, S.J., America Magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819574299
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 9/18/2013
  • Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
  • Edition description: Includes audio supplement
  • Pages: 156
  • Sales rank: 1,405,125
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

YUSEF KOMUNYAKAA is a professor and senior distinguished poet in the graduate Creative Writing Program at New York University. He is the author of twenty books of poetry.
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Table of Contents

Foreword – Sascha Feinstein
PART ONE: JAZZ POEMS – Yusef Komunyakaa
Rhythm Method
Togetherness
Twilight Seduction
Woman, I Got the Blues
Jasmine
Gingkoes
Tenebrae
Canto Jondo
Changes; or, Reveries at a Window Overlooking a Country Road, with Two Women Talking Blues in the Kitchen
The Same Beat
To Beauty
Ignis Fatuus
Pepper
Satchmo, USA
Nightbird
Copacetic Mingus
Gerry’s Jazz
Speed Ball
February in Sydney
The Plea
Elegy for Thelonious
Dolphy’s Aviary
Gutbucket
Blue Light Lounge Sutra for the Performance Poets at Harold Park Hotel
The Story of a Coat
No-Good Blues
Ode to the Saxophone
Coda
PART TWO: TESTIMONY – Yusef Komunyakaa and Sandy Evans
THE LIBRETTO
Yusef Komunyakaa’s “Testimony” and the Humanity of Charlie Parker – Sascha Feinstein
Survival Masks: An Interview with Yusef Komunyakaa – Sascha Feinstein
Testimony – Yusef Komunyakaa
THE MUSIC
Testimony, The Ties that Bind – Miriam Zolin
French Flowers Blooming: The Music for Testimony – Sandy Evans and Christopher Williams
Composer/Musical Director’s Notes – Sandy Evans
Testimony, Songs and Musicians – Sandy Evans
Australian Art Orchestra Performances – Paul Grabowsky
Acknowledgments
Contributors
Selected Bibliography
Selected Discography
Testimony, The Recording
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