Friday, February 06, 2009

Poetry Friday: Jazz ABZ

Marsalis, Wynton. 2005. Jazz ABZ.

This is a poetry ABC book dedicated to all things jazz. Okay, maybe not all things jazz. But it's a start. 26 jazz musicians. 26 poetry forms. Great potential, right? The book starts off--as well it should--with Louis Armstrong--and ends with Dizzy Gillespie. In between we've got artists like Count Basie, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughan. The book is illustrated by Paul Rogers. The poetic forms covered--how many have you heard of???--are: accumulative, blues, list, word play, meter play, preached, limerick, substitution, performance, ode, insult, lyric, free verse, nursery rhyme, abstract, pantoum, acrostic, rondeau, beat poem, haiku, calligram, sonnet, prose, ballad, tanka, and skeltonic verse.

I can see Jazz ABZ serving several purposes: for jazz enthusiasts, for music appreciation, for poetry appreciation. The last two especially might be something for teachers to consider. A great crossover option as well...seeing how students could connect the music of these artists with the history and culture of the jazz age...and perhaps discuss how these poems succeed (or fail for that matter) to do the artists justice. Would you be able to write a poem on a favorite musician? Would you be able to do it in a structured way? I know I couldn't do it. But I'm glad that Marsalis did!

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Unknown said...

This is Uriah from Into the Book (

I was thinking maybe we could trade links or something like that. Tell me what you think!


In Him,

Douglas Florian said...

Looks like the designer had jazzzzzy fun

Serena said...

This sounds like a great book to introduce to kids and get them into poetry...reminds me of Nikki Giovanni's Hip Hop for Children.

Debi said...

Oooooh, this looks so good! I think I love absolutely everything about it!

Kelly Polark said...

Thanks for this recommendation. I have been submitting a Rock n Roll ABC book...I'll have to check this Jazz one out!

Yat-Yee said...

Wynton Marsalis is such an amazing musician, and tireless in reaching out to people with his music.

Thanks for the review.

Annie said...

Becky, this combines two of my favorite things - music and wordplay. This goes on my list of books to buy. Thanks for the recommendation.

susan said...

We have this in our library. A friend donated it. I think it is beautiful and appealing even if kids don't know much about jazz.

Marinela said...

I'll have to check this Jazz one out!