Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Art Lange

Born in Chicago in 1952, Art Lange is the author of hundreds of essays, reviews, articles, and interviews on music and poetry. A music critic of international reputation, he was editor of DownBeat magazine from 1984-88.

His work has been published in publications as diverse as the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik and the Village Voice, New American Writing and the Partisan Review, and he has written programme notes for over 200 jazz and classical recordings. He also published and edited Brilliant Corners: a magazine of the arts, from 1975-77. He is the co-editor (with Nathaniel Mackey) of Moment's Notice: Jazz in Poetry and Prose (1993), and the author of four books of poetry.

Lange’s poetry is strongly influenced by William Carlos Williams, Louis Zukofsky, and Robert Creeley, as becomes apparent in his “musical use of the short poetic line” (Hoover). Hoover also sees a strong connection between his sparse phrasing and the jazz compositions of Thelonious Monk.

I was very taken by the poetry of Lange included in the anthology and thus extremely disappointed to find very little trace of his poetic work online. I can only suggest trying to track down copies of his poetry collections: Glee: Song (1977), The Monk Poems (1977), Evidence (1981), and Needles at Midnight (1986) – I most certainly will!


My below poem used Lange’s “Sonnet for the Season” as a starting point for a reflection about a different kind of “season”.

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Requiem for a Season:
How To Get Away With Murder S1

There is a crack in this thing called trust where questions seep in until a pool of doubt has gathered. Dark and deep enough for someone to get all soaking wet. Better learn how to swim in it. Better hold your breath. Better keep paddling. Or hold on to someone or something that floats well. Unless of course, there’s a crack in this thing called trust where questions seep in until a pool of doubt has gathered. Dark and deep enough for someone to get all soaking wet.


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