Voice and Improvisation in Poetry, Jazz and Song
AUTHOR: Hartman, Charles O.
PUBLISHER: Princeton University Press
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American arts since World War II have drawn power and mystery from the ideas of voice and of improvisation. These unite in modern jazz, which is America's special contribution to world culture. But American poetry, too, has been vitally motivated by the example of jazz musicians and their ideas of personal sound and spontaneous composition. Working from this crucial connection between arts, Charles Hartman shows how music like that of Lee Konitz and Ornette Coleman, and poems by Robert Creeley, Michael Harper, David Antin, Philip Levine, Ai, and Jackson Mac Low, illuminate each other. Juxtaposing musicians and poets, he also explores the equivocal boundary between oral and written art. His study then extends to songs by popular artists such as Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits, and the Roches, whose work combines words and music directly and literalizes the idea of voice. Applying close-reading techniques to jazz and adapting Bakhtin's theory of dialogue, Hartman confronts the tangled issues of improvisation and composition, originality, authenticity, disguise, and recognition. He explores the assumptions incorporated and questioned by "voice" with regard to self and identity and their place in the work of art and the world.
PUBLICATION DATE: 6/10/1991