From Publishers Weekly
A multi-award-winning veteran of performance poetry and of the printed page, California's first official poet laureate demonstrates his ebullient and undimmed powers in this capacious selection from his eight previous books of verse. Troupe (Weather Reports, etc.) got his start in the late-'60s heyday of the Black Arts movement, and that era's focus on speech rhythms and syncopations bore fruit in Troupe's striking early poems: "the kids of chicago have eyes that are older/ than the deepest pain in the world." Throughout his career Troupe has paid close attention to jazz, eventually penning two books of prose about Miles Davis; his verse returns continually to swing, bebop and free-jazz giants, imitating, commemorating or praising Coltrane, Duke, Bud Powell and others in a series of musicianly poems culminating in the recent "Back to the Dream Time: Miles Speaks from the Dead." Troupe's forms, driven by performability, range from ecstatic odes to overtly political expostulations. Recurrent topics include the poet's extended family; the nature of poetry as performance and praise; and the poet's sense of particular U.S. locales, from the Manhattan of early work to the California coast that provides the occasion for his most joyful new poems. Other new work continues Troupe's success in familiar modes of praise and prophecy. A memorial to an admired painter praises his "new kind of visual, tribal language,/ archaic & new, aural"; quips and rants describe "the way some crazed white people have attacked/ the entire world," while the extended meditation "9/11 Emergency Calls Coming into Manhattan" shows "what terror really is, really feels like, is the dread you are thinking of now."
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Troupe is a master of rhythm, repetition and song with an amazing ability to capture...tones and colors. -- Black Issues Book Review