Saturday, September 13, 2008

From PA to Italy to Cornelia St.

Are you Italian-American or interested in Italian culture? Do you just like words? Amy Barone, a friend of J.B., is reading at Cornelia Street Café tonight in conjunction with the Italian-American Writers Association, in support of her new chapbook, Views from the Driveway.

Barone’s work reflects her Pennsylvania roots and the extensive time she spent in Italy. She still writes a column on New York living for an Italian beauty magazine, including this report on Small’s. Jazz is indeed a significant influence on her work, including “Understanding Jaco,” a meditation on Jaco Pastorius and his composition “Three Views of a Secret,” from Driveway:

“I wanted to understand such a confusing and elusive song
Like you, the bass playing wonder who after years of saying
“no” turned to “yeses” that paved your undoing
As you traveled down dark streets and indiscriminately
picked your battles
Abandoning reason and the roles, of leader, teacher,
friend and muse” . . . (p. 29)

There is indeed a long history of poetry taking inspiration from jazz, and vice versa. Jazz musicians and poets have also often shared the same venues, like Cornelia Street. The tradition continues tonight at 6:00.