Love is an Endless Improvisation on a Forgotten Theme: “Jazz” in Extempore 2012

Published : Tuesday, December 04, 2012 | Label:

“Jazz; Or, Every Poem Is a Love Song, Really”, a poem I wrote early in 2011, before a late night reading at Tony Bilson’s One at Circular Quay, and reworked through any number of drafts until it felt like an improvisation, appeared in October in Miriam Zolin’s Extempore 2012.

From 2008 to 2010, Zolin, a novelist and jazz lover, published Extempore Magazine: a journal dedicated to writing on jazz and other (improvisatory) musics. She’s published a couple of works of jazz lit since. Ext 2012, a lovely tight ensemble includes a poem by Geoff Page, a fine poet and jazz tragic—a poem that, as it happens, riffs off an error I made (an error that flatters him, as he acknowledges, though it was meant neither to flatter nor to deceive) in a review of his recent collection of jazz poems (A Sudden Sentence in the Air, also published by Extempore, early in 2012). As well as poems by Geoff and me, playing ever so slightly out of time with each other, you’ll find a lyric essay by Donna Ward on the music of Phillip Glass and fiction by the winners of the 2011 National Jazz Writing Award, Isabelle Skaburskis (this one is a knockout), Danny Melia, and Ann-Marie Rudd.

Jazz, I hypothesise in my poem, like an original life, and like love, “makes you up as it goes down.” “It’s a rehearsal undressed,/ an improv so tight someone must/ surely have scored it, but no one/ ever did. Or ever will again.”


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