Improvisational forms

Not only is April National Poetry Month, but it is also Jazz Appreciation Month. The internal website at my office informs me that a third awareness-raising designation of April is as Financial Literacy Month. The only common factor I can think of among all three is some perceived opacity and difficulty in education.

Jazz and poetry seem to have a more natural affinity, however. Here is an excerpt from an interview with poet Robert Pinksy in American Poet:
It's fun to accompany somebody on a discovery of how you can play in relation to a certain set of chord changes in a certain tempo. It's a pleasure to accompany Hart Crane and Emily Dickinson, as they show what you can do with a fixed line and an emotion and a set of things to say, as the emotion and the line and the rhythm and the syntax push against one another, dance together, dance apart, come into conflict, argue about it, make peace, explode, do all the different things that those stylistic elements can do. And I think that it expresses a kind of awakeness and a kind of pleasure, regardless if the material of the poem is dark, that calls up, if everything's working right, an answering awakeness on the part of the reader.

I also like the thoughts he relays earlier in the interview about how both jazz and poetry rely on quotation.


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