The Small Books of Bach: Poems

The Small Books of Bach: Poems

by David Wright

Paperback

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Overview

The Small Books of Bach is an offering of forty poems, each a spiritual query, playful celebration, or serious riff on the music and life of J. S. Bach. Divided into four books, the poems range from lyrical investigations into Bach's life to surprising, irreverent meditations on performances of the composer's work. While Bach lovers will enjoy the references to his music and its reception, these energetic poems can draw all readers into the composer's surprising life and spiritually challenging music, a body of work with the potential to make readers ""want to dance or get right with a much better God / than they came with, or the one they had planned to take home.""

""David Wright has apprenticed himself to the greatest of masters--with the humility of the student alert to the astonishments of point and counterpoint, our aesthetic antipodes. Were you worried, you may be at peace. Here, in these beautiful poems, in the poet's haunted hands, Bach springs eternal.""
--Alan Michael Parker, author of Love Song with Motor Vehicles

""From a 'singed g-minor' in wartime to a 'Sestina for Bach's Mama,' Wright's Bach is an imaginative creation suited to the revival tent and electric organ, feeling all along the 'hum and rhythm' present in the syncopated experiences of art and belief.""
--Brett Foster, author of The Garbage Eater

""Here's the deal with this book: it's funnier than you think it is. And it's sadder than it presents. And it's far, far wiser than it sets out to be . . . Here is a book of private absolutions made public, settled 'scores' (there's that Wrightian wryness again), and ultimately, an elegiac lyric congregated around loss and God. Don't be fooled--this isn't a book about Bach. It's a book about the common crisis shared by every living, loving soul. It's a book that sings longing's awful song.""
--Jill Alexander Essbaum, author of Heaven


David Wright lives in Central Illinois and teaches creative writing and American literature at Monmouth College. He is the author of A Liturgy for Stones (2003). His poems have appeared in Image, Ecotone, Hobart, Books & Culture, and many other publications.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620329375
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 09/18/2014
Pages: 74
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.15(d)

About the Author

David Wright lives in Central Illinois and teaches creative writing and American literature at Monmouth College. He is the author of A Liturgy for Stones (2003). His poems have appeared in Image, Ecotone, Hobart, Books & Culture, and many other publications.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Book I

Bach Learns to Love the Masses (in b-minor) 3

Four Sarabandes 4

After the World Appears to Explode, Stephen Isserlis Plays (BBC, September 2001) 7

After Bach's Air in G, Transcribed for Flute 8

Jesu, Priceless Tango 9

Prayer and Fugue for Two Hands, in Ordinary Time 10

Violin at Sea 12

The Naked Cellist Believes He Can Hide Among Trees 13

Bach and the Mandolin Boys Meet Herr Goldberg then Proceed to Philadelphia 14

Resurrection 15

The Bach Fundamentalists Gather and Wait for the Rapture to Begin 16

Book II

Sestina for Bach's Mama 19

The Arnstadt Confessions 21

Bach Wedding Cantata Discovered in Japan 24

Bach Inspects the Organ at the Church of Our Lady in Halle 25

Sonnet for Bach's Boys to Consider 26

Mendelssohn Again in Goethe's Parlor 28

Several Titles for Historical Bach Poems that Will Not Be Written 30

Book III

Aria for Starlings in the Spring 33

Excerpts from Bach's Shadow Quartets for the Less Certain

Shadow Quartet One: Quasimodogeniti-First Sunday after Easter 34

Shadow Quartet Two: "Nun, ich weiß, du wirst mir stillen Mein Gewis-sen, das mich plagt" 36

Shadow Quartet Three: Ich glaube, lieber Herr, hilf meinem Unglauben! 38

Shadow Quartet Four: Salvete flores Maryrum 40

Chorale on the Word 41

Excerpts from Bach's Unpublished Bestiary

In the Unlocked Cages of God's Apocalyptic Zoo 43

The Two-Toed Sloth Discovers He Is a Deadly Sir 44

Bach's Broken Catalogue of Light 45

Book IV

Bach's Pentecostal Fugue for Electric Organ, Choir, and Tambourine 49

Invention for First Grader, Wax Paper, and Comb 50

Bach's Tocatta, Adagio, and Fugue for the Prairie States 51

Illinois (Prelude) 51

Iowa (Toccata) 52

Missouri (Adagio) 53

Kansas (Little Fugue) 54

Canons on Dubious Subjects 55

Paul Plays a Bourree 57

Bonhoeffer Argues with Barth Over Heaven and its Songs 58

On Bach's Ekphrastic Arias for Irreverent Cubist Painters 60

Acrostic for the Resurrection of the Dead 60

Afterword: Falling in Love with Bach (a Cello, and a Dubious Aria I Would Like to Sing) 61

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