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Playing the Black Piano: Poems Paperback – February 17, 2004


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Playing the Black Piano: Poems + The Chain Letter of the Soul: New and Selected Poems + The Windows of Brimnes: An American in Iceland
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Milkweed Editions (February 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1571314172
  • ISBN-13: 978-1571314178
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,792,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Holm celebrates the free market of music, from Schubert...to musical beggars...in China." -- Minnesota Monthly, March 2004

"Holm...fills his work with wonderful music..." -- Philadelphia Inquirer, May 23 2004

"It appears Bill Holm is keeping the angel of death away." -- Suburban Chicago Newspapers,

"Likely to produce a slight smile, perhaps a tear, and . . . a nod of understanding for its insightful perception of life." -- Tulsa World (May 1, 2005)

"This is Bill Holm's most compassionate work." -- The Corresponder, Fall 2004

Holm takes adult readers to Iceland and deeper into the cyclical and astonishing nature of our lives. -- Lisle Sun, April 16, 2004

In these poems, Holm is playing the black piano...with a power and an eloquence that is breathtaking. -- Star Tribune, March 14, 2004

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By James Ingberg JR. on April 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
I just went to my first poetry reading tonight. The poet was Bill Holm, reading and discussing his newest work, "Playing the Black Piano", at Zandbroz Variety, in downtown Fargo, ND. I have always wanted to attend one but never could work one into my schedule. I was thinking of going to a movie but chose to attend the poetry reading instead and found it a very fulfilling way to spend a hour or so on a Saturday night. I guess I'am reacting more so to the poetry reading then the actual book. But one of the themes, Bill Holm wanted to get across was to enjoy some of the simpler things in life. Step aside and take in a poetry reading or just spend some time alone reading poetry. It worked for me I bought a copy of, "Playing the Black Piano" and a CD of the poet reading some of his work. And having read only about half the book I'am on Amazon already looking for more of Bill Holm's writings.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By o dubhthaigh VINE VOICE on August 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
At the end of the day, it's what the poetry does to you, not the bases it touches to please the critics and academics. Read this book. These are poems to mull, consider, weigh. They come from a mind and a heart and soul as deep as you'll likely ever encounter. Think only of the ones who mean the most to you, that is how Holm poetically dwells in this collection. The stories cover the disconnect in American (i.e. US) life fostered by the mistaken notion that we own something/anything, especially the corporate monster. He reflects on how transient the time is we have with those who impact us most and how lasting their memory is. A friend dies of Aids. Death sits in a straight back chair waiting for him as he rediscovers Haydn. Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert walk across the background of the mirror in which he surveys what has happened in his life. An MRI and the simple minded attendant provoke replies of a life well considered, and supremely annoyed by the ephemeral.

Never knew anything about Holm until I was given this by Thuy. I have read and re-read these poems and expect to do so with whatever time I have left. Holm advises you to play your music now. As his friend admonishes, "Eat dessert first. Life is short and uncertain."
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A strong collection of Bill Holm's poetry centering around the death of a close friend. From much darkness Holm draws much light and generously, with great strength of imagery, shares it with his readers. A fine testament to his power and talent as a poet.
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By Sara Craven on February 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I started out by checking each poem that I really liked and wanted to come back to -- only to find that I had checked almost every one! Am going to look for Bill Holm's other works.
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By C. Allan Carlson on November 10, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book and Holm's "The Dead Get By With Everything," and when I read aloud his "The Icelandic Language" to a certain committee, they immediately chorused, "Book him." Now Bill's surely "Getting By," for sadly, his last public appearance was at CLU's 2009 Nordic Spirit Symposium. Scandinavian-Americans, especially Midwesterners who see Iceland as some kind of proto-Scandinavia will enjoy Bill Holm. Erstwhile piano players will start looking up old sheet music - Haydn, Bach and such - after these opening lines: "The piano tells things to your hands/You never let yourself hear from others." You might find yourselves at a keyboard seeking your own epiphanies.
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