Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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9781644210451

The selected poems from over fifty years by the great poet and biographer and friend of Miles Davis.

Quincy Troupe writes poetry in great waves. The words are just notes. It's the music you make with them that matters. He's not a wordsmith, he's a shaman conjuring long repetitive lines, cadences of looking across the sea towards Africa and haunted by the legacy of slavery and racism, or of remembering fellow conjurers, poets and musical artists, celebrating, always celebrating, but never only that.
In the fifty-page, incantatory poem, "Ghost Voices," there is a longing to be reconnected to the past, and a longing too to be free of it. In the short title poem, "Duende: For García Lorca and Miles Davis," there lies, nakedly, Troupe's credo: "...secrets, mystery infused in black magic / that enters bodies in forms of music, art/ poetry imbuing language with sovereignty / in blood spooling back through violent centuries..." The version of the great poem "Avalanche (number 3)" that appears here is different from the version of the same poem he published nearly 25 years ago--in exactly the same way that a jazz artist picks up his horn to play the same song a little differently every time.
Troupe is a generous and gregarious poet in this giant offering that includes many new poems, as well as a selection chosen from across his eleven previously published volumes. What's remarkable is the constancy, the energy, and how he's always looking right at you in the here and now, and at the same time sees something over your shoulder that others don't see yet, maybe a distant storm gathering over the waters, something we're going to need to rise up and face soon enough.

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9781644210451

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Poet, teacher, journalist Quincy Troupe is an alumnus of the Watts Writers Workshop and, along with his friends Ishmael Reed, Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni and others, associated with the Black Arts Movement. He was named California's first poet laureate in 2002. Troupe's Miles: The Autobiography is considered a contemporary classic of musical artist biography. Among his many other books are his collaboration on the autobiography of Chris Gardner, The Pursuit of Happyness, which became a popular film starring Will Smith. He also wrote James Baldwin: The Legacy and Earl the Pearl: My Story by Earl Monroe and Quincy Troupe. Troupe has published many volumes of his poetry over the years and has also published several children's books.