AUDIO: Jazz and Poetry
"Thelonious Monk on a Subway" by Lauren Camp
I met Monk
on a subway, coming through the tunnel.
His words fell out be-
tween thick beard hairs,
then lumbered toward me, paused and sighed.
When the train jerked, his long
fingers reached out,
touched my pale shoulder:
he wore a rust brown coat.
the track with us: E-flat, D,
C and D. Harmonious fifths, and mismatched chords.
He explained that the melodies
his hands wanted to connect.
I didn’t understand
so he invited me to his home.
We emerged from underground and
walked. Step, step, stop
over thin tones of San Juan Hill. The sun moved closer.
step. He smiled
that slow spreading smile,
shook hands with a man
he knew, mumbled
and moved on.
On West Sixty-Third, he found his door,
removed his hat,
Nellie took his hat.
Monk’s fingers lipped
the white keys, unlocked black ones.
crossed and banged again,
rolled his ring into place.
clenched in a dance of abrupt
imagination, infinite extrusion.
Music didn’t pour out,
He wrung it
from his palms, revived it, gathered it in again and
played for hours –
“Round Midnight” and “Blue Monk,” the angles
until my head was full of squares
the truth of spheres.
He drew silence on that piano
in his kitchen
until the sun came up.
I drank another cup of tea
and left through the small door
to the city, the gray-
green emerging light
the same as any other day, but
the corners of his melodies
kept opening and closing,
making infinite space
in the chunky dankness of the swilled avenue.
Table of Contents
- Duo Duo’s acceptance speech and biographical profile
- Duo Duo new poems, trans. Yibing Huang
- Michelle Yeh, “Monologue of a Stormy Soul: Duo Duo, 1972–88"
- Yibing Huang, "Duo Duo: Master of Wishful Thinking"
SPECIAL SECTION: Jazz Poetry
Guest edited by Lauren Camp
- Introductory essay by Lauren Camp: "What's in the Notes: The Sound of Jazz in Poetry"
- Poetry from Lauren Camp: “Thelonious Monk on a Subway” and “What You Might Hear” plus web exclusive audio clips
- Virgil Suárez (Cuba/US): “Latin Jazz on the Go in Havana”
- Adrian Matejka (Germany/US): “Behind the Yashmak"
- Nii Parkes (Ghana/Great Britain): “Our Love Is Here to Stay” & “Hymn"
- Virgil Mihaiu (Romania; tr. Adam Sorkin): “Finesse de Brasil," “Universal Canticle,” and a web exclusive concert recording.
- Author Profile: E.C. Osondu (Nigeria)
- City Profile: Seoul, South Korea
- First Words: Luma Sarhan, “Approaching Zainab”
- WLT Online Bookclub: The United States of Africa by Abdourahman A. Waberi
- New books: recent translations
CRIME & MYSTERY
- J. Madison Davis, “Scarface Al and His Pals”
- Romeo Çollaku (Albania), Two poems, tr. Peter Constantine
- Stuart Friebert (US), “Good Leg Up, Bad Leg Down"
- Jan Wagner (Germany) Two poems, tr. Chenxin Jiang
Q&A: WLT INTERVIEWS
- Erwin Koch (Switzerland) by John K. Cox
- Adrianne Kalfopoulou (Greece/US), “Ruin”
Web Exclusive: PHOTO GALLERY: Athens Street Art
- Web Exclusive: "But It Was Beautiful" by Erwin Koch
- Luay Hamza Abbas (Iraq), “Spit Out What Is in Your Mouth,” tr. Yasmeen Hanoosh
WORLD LITERATURE IN REVIEW
OUTPOSTS: Literary Events & Landmarks