Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Novelist and superb storyteller, Preston L. Allen reviewed the preceding poems from my book, "Behold There Came Jazzmen," Asili Press, Inc., 2008. Allen is the author of four brillant novels, All or Nothing, Hoochie Mama, Bounce, and Churchboys & Other Sinners. He has several collctions of short stories. (see his website, http://prestonlallen.blogspot.com/). He writes:

Reading Joseph McNair’s latest collection of verse, Behold There Came Jazzmen, a book be-bopping with energy and invention on every page, I am transported back to that first summer I fell in love with the printed word. A love affair with words is unlike any other kind of affair. You who read know where I’m coming from. Give me some skin, brotherman. Can I get an Amen? Indeed, the printed word is unparalleled in its ability to captivate. The printed word is magic. The printed word transforms. McNair’s poetry reminds you of what it’s like to read with wonder, to listen with eye and ear, to hear with ear and movement, to sing the story into your soul. With their confident lines and addictive rhythms, these biopic ditties dance you out of the page and onto the stage. Swing those hips, sister. Slap me five, brotherman, brotherman. We see in these lines the birth and baptism of the poetry-making man juxtaposed with the jumping, jiving, wailing music-making men that are his artistic role models and inspiration—Duke Ellington, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, and all the other cool cats. The language of McNair’s poetic stylings is as hip and swaggering as a Louis Armstrong improvisation, and as technically perfect and dauntingly brilliant as a Miles Davis virtuoso solo. Can you dig it? So don’t be no square. Drop some Coltrane on your hi-fi, put something to sip under your lip—like Ray Charles says, let’s go get stoned . . . because the nighttime is the right time—then sit back and enjoy a feast for the ears, the heart, and the soul. Knock, knock, knock. Baby, there’s some jazzmen at the door. It’s all right, mama. Don’t be scared. Just open the book and let ‘em in. Behold, they come again.

—Preston L. Allen

1 comment:

  1. I amazed you have four books now I can look for them and read your magic to see if I can try to fathom the depths of your thoughts because this sir has left a good impresion on me about you.