Poem introduction

Several poets, in different ways, have attempted to combine jazz and poetry. As a jazz musician myself - I'm a clarinettist - I relish the conversation set up by improvisation, and what one music critic has described as the "sound of surprise". I feel that I know exactly what the pianist Earl Hines meant when he said that every time he played a familiar number he tried to find a new pattern of chord changes or a different route towards the resolution of the melody. 'When you see me smiling, you know I'm lost,' is what he once told an interviewer, and that for me just about says it all: the challenge, the risk, the stimulus of options. Or, to adapt a remark that E. M. Forster made about writing, "how do I know where I'm going, until I hear what I play?"

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Over the years I’ve become increasingly interested in the lyrical nature of poetry. I find that the more I’ve taken in...

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