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Something About the Blues (A Poetry Speaks Experience) Hardcover – November 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Series: A Poetry Speaks Experience
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks MediaFusion; 1 Har/Cdr edition (November 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402210647
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402210648
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 8.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #978,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

""Poetry is music, everyone knows. But few poets connect the two as fluently as California Poet Laureate Al Young."" - The San Francisco Chronicle

From the Inside Flap

Harlem renaissance poet Langston Hughes was the first to popularize the blues as a poetic form. According to Hughes, the blues were born as poetry, sung by working men to share their stories of hard-luck lives and tough times. Their tales had a natural rhythm that begged for a beat, and musical blues was born. Today, ìpoetry over musicî scenes across the country recall Hughesís legacy. California Poet Laureate Al Young carries on that legacy in Something About the Blues, with 120 new and previously published poems that evoke the blues in stories about life and music.

The blues come to life on the enclosed audio CD:
--Nearly an hour of Al Youngís dynamic storytelling readings
--Langston Hughes reads his inspirational ìThe Weary Bluesî
--Many of Al Youngís performances feature a live band

San Francisco Bay Area based poet-novelist-essayist Al Young was named Poet Laureate of California in 2005, and is the author of more than 20 books. Among his honors: Guggenheim, Fulbright, NEA Fellowships, The Joseph Henry Jackson Award, Stanfordís Wallace Stegner Writing Fellowship, the Stephen Henderson Award for Poetry and the 2007 Richard Wright Literary Excellence Award. Youngís titles include Heaven: Collected Poems 1956ñ1990; The Sound of Dreams Remembered: Poems 1990ñ2000; Coastal Nights and Inland Afternoons : Poems 2001ñ2006; Mingus Mingus: Two Memoirs (with Janet Coleman); Drowning in the Sea of Love: Musical Memoirs; African American Literature : A Brief Introduction and Anthology; and the novels Snakes, Who Is Angelina?, Seduction by Light and Sitting Pretty.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 5 customer reviews
He whites with such love and abandon, warm but not trashy, Simply beautiful.
suezenne fordham
It is visually appealing in its layout and makes the poems easy and compelling to read and very tempting to recite.
M. Cohen
This collection is a real treat... a must-have for anyone who loves music, or words, or (especially) both.
K. Doughtie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Cohen on December 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Usually when I think about the blues I imagine a singer with a melancholy voice singing something like:
My man done beat me, treats me kind of mean.
I say, My man done beat me, treats me kind of mean.
But . . .
Well you get the idea.

But of course the Blues, which is the basis of jazz, bebop, R&R,etc is much more than that.

With this book, Al presents the Blues as it is; poetry about all aspects of life, mostly life affirming, set to music or imagined.

To quote part of one of Al's poems:

"Something about the blues swoops down on you so soft and easy
that the slippery salt-seam that sews sleep to wakefulness melts
down to let love pour out all over you like radiation"

With this book I believe Al Young has come of age. He beautifully distills his talents as a poet, musician, and wonderful story teller into the work of art which is this gift.

The book itself is "eye candy." It is visually appealing in its layout and makes the poems easy and compelling to read and very tempting to recite. As a bonus Al includes a wonderful CD in which his performance makes his poetry come alive, with and without musical accompanyment.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By K. Doughtie on May 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a book written by a master poet working at the top of his game. The fusion of music and image, poetry and rhythm is seamless; it rings with the clear bell of pure authenticity. Reading these words is as effortless and evocative as sinking into a vinyl booth at a blues bar, feeling the buzz of the music take you out of yourself into another place of soul, of light, of being grateful to be alive.

The book itself is crafted with care and attention to detail. The addition of a CD was a stroke of genius. This collection is a real treat... a must-have for anyone who loves music, or words, or (especially) both.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mingustasha on March 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this as a gift for my dad, who loves the Blues. He loved it and thought both the book and the CD were just great!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gary Sprandel on August 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
What can you say about a nation whose basic music is the blues", asks Al Young .. but it sure makes sense. These poems are spiced with blues and jazz legends, like Thelonious Monk, Gene Ammons, James Brown, and Blind Snooks Eaglin. I loved "Lester Leaps In' ... "Nobody but Lester Leap / into a spotlight that got too hot". And Straight No Chaser is a fitting accompaniment for Monk. I'd suggest listening to the CD first, to get Al's voice in your head, and particularly enjoyed the music and reading of "The James Cotton Band at the Keystone". There are subtle surprises throughout like "Squirrels may be crazy, but they aren't dullards". Also a nice bonus on the CD, is Langston Hughes reading "The Weary Blues".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By suezenne fordham on December 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is anothere of the essential parts of my library. Love Al's poetry, And his Blues Poetry. He whites with such love and abandon, warm but not trashy, Simply beautiful.
I have had the priveledge pf performing concerts with Al, with my [then ] Quintet.... There are parts of the concert that are spoken and other parts that are sung... really highty artistic, and soulful.... Youwill not be complete til you have his books near you so you can really dig what this major Artist and California PoetLaureate is all about1 And you wont be able to rest til you have all his books!
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