Friday, September 26, 2014

Welcome to the Fall Contests! part 1

Autumn has arrived....the sky is bluer, the sun is brighter, but the air is cooler, and the leaves are about to turn red and yellow and orange.  This means that it's time for our fall contests!

Our first contest honors Thelonious Monk, the great pianist, who was born on October 10, 1917.  Poems in this contest may be inspired by Monk's music, either his versions or those recorded by later musicians.  You may also write a biographical poem about him or his family members (including the Jazz Baroness, Pannonica de Koenigswarter) or the musicians he played with.  The musicians who influenced him may also be worth writing about.  Here are some pictures to inspire you.

The album above is one of my favorites.

Robin D.G. Kelley's biography of Monk is definitely worth reading.  He explodes a few myths.

Above is a picture of Monk as a young man of thirty or so...with Howard McGhee.  Below are pictures of him with the Jazz Baroness and another with his wife.

And, of course, here is Monk's music for you to dip into:

In the spirit of the summer contest, I am also posting contemporary musicians' versions of Monk's songs.

Benny Green performs "Monk's Dream" solo:

Jason Moran plays "Crepuscle with Nellie."  He also provides insight into the problem of playing Monk in 2014.

Moran's version of "Thelonious" is here:

Or you may prefer a big band version:

The poem that you submit may be unpublished or published.  Just be sure that you have the rights to it.  Let me know where it was published, and I will credit that journal or book.  

The deadline for this contest is December 30.  I will publish the poems as I receive them!  Please send them to -- thank you!

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