16 - Rhythm & Booze by Julie Kane Oct 5, 2008 23:30:25 GMT 2
Post by shayepoet on Oct 5, 2008 23:30:25 GMT 2
Rhythm & Booze: Poems
Selected by Maxine Kumin as a National Poetry Series winner
one of four finalists for the 2005 Poets’ Prize
“Rhythm & Booze is packed with so many brilliant moments of poetry you want to call up friends and cry, “Listen to this!” Part Ray Charles and Philip Larkin, part Dorothy Parker and Barry Hannah, some Mae West and some Miles Davis, Julie Kane’s poems are so much fun they stick like the blues behind them. Nobody writes villanelles so effortlessly, nobody bares her teeth so brightly, nobody sashays so come-hitheringly, nobody is so formidably cool. Miss Kane is my discovery of the year or more, and I shall be telling about her ages and ages after sunset. You want the delights that only real poetry can give? Pick up Rhythm & Booze. And when you’re done, give it to a friend who, I guarantee, will thank you for this trip through New Orleans, bars, bawdy days and nights, and the heart that can’t help crying and dancing.”
-- Dave Smith
Kissing the Bartender
The summer we kissed across the bar,
I felt sixteen at thirty-six:
as if you were a movie star
I had a crush on from afar.
My chest was flat, my legs were sticks
the summer we kissed across the bar.
Balancing on the rail was hard.
Spilled beer made my elbows stick.
You could have been a movie star,
backlit, golden, lofting a jar
of juice or Bloody Mary mix
the summer we kissed across the bar.
Over the sink, the limes, as far
as you could lean, you leaned. I kissed
the movie screen, a movie star.
Drinks stayed empty. Ashtrays tarred.
The customers got mighty pissed
the summer we kissed across the bar.
Summer went by like a shooting star.
Raves and Reviews for Rhythm & Booze:
“Julie Kane’s Rhythm & Booze presents the double inheritance of Irishness and alcoholism with infectious verve. On sign of her skill is that, in her hands, such common forms as the villanelle seem fresh. The book is an unabashed catalog of bars and bad choices. Transplanted to Louisiana from New England, Kane has learned where Hank Williams and Muddy Waters meet . . . . Fans of the novels of Alice McDermott will find much that is familiar here—close observation of relationships that are sometimes ruinous. And it’s delightful to find in Kane a survivor’s humor . . . . Selected by Maxine Kumin for the National Poetry Series, Rhythm & Booze is a healthy shot of Maker’s Mark from a clear-headed, life-affirming, joyful poet. Hallelujah.”
-- David Mason in The Hudson Review
“Rhythm & Booze lingers long after the last page, like a smooth Bushmill’s Irish coffee with silky cream. Julie Kane’s poetry mixes the vulgar with the ecstatic, the earthy with the heavenly, and a little piece of American soil with the universal longings of the past and future. She’s a wonderful formalist but there’s a touch of the anarchist in every line. To read her poetry is to live briefly in New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana—to feel the heat, the air, the water, the fire, the life here.”
-- Mary McCay in The New Orleans Times-Picayune
“Julie Kane is a boomers’ Edna St. Vincent Millay, although her setting is Louisiana . . . and the love she looks back on with cheerfully cynical nostalgia involves tattoos, juke joints, a taste for the drink, and a bar smell taken into skin and hair. Kane favors the rhymed couplet and the villanelle, lightened somewhat by imaginative off-rhymes but nevertheless a formal background that sets off her irreverent juxtapositions of language, image, and attitude.”
-- Bostonia Magazine
“Yes, for many years there was a famous, boozy poetry scene at the Maple Leaf Bar, headed by ur-New Orleans poet Everette Maddox and chronicled in Julie Kane’s wonderful second collection, a National Poetry Series winner called Rhythm & Booze (2003) . . . . Though a 20-year resident of the city, part of her imagination remains in her native Northeast, and yet she seems truly possessed by Louisiana, whose every nook and cranny—New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Natchitoches, St. Gabriel—she seems to love.”
-- Diann Blakely in Nashville Scene
"What do you say about a poet who tackles matters of sex, death, and alcohol in a first book that is nearly half villanelle? Bravo, of course, but then, are you kidding? Both formal in style and autobiographical in content, Rhythm & Booze is full of the wisdom and wiliness one rarely sees in a debut book . . . . Julie Kane is a poet of statement with a Keatsian awareness of the tragic beauty around her. You get a sense from her matter-of-factness that the scars are earned, that the wisdom is real . . . . I look forward to the release of her next book."
-- Hank Hudepohl in The Hollins Critic
“I dare not even compare her poetry to Plath’s and Sexton’s who, with Ms. Kane, hail from the Boston area. On the whole Kane’s poetry is more protean than theirs. For it teems with wit also, and melancholy, like some of the best jazz tunes . . . . There is a bit of magical Louisiana cooking in these poems which the poet brings to a boil with just the right amount of seasoning and just the right amount of love. And she casts a lovely spell over us, like voodoo at its most ecstatic.”
-- Ken Fontenot in Concho River Review
About the author:
Poet Julie Kane was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1952, but has lived in her adopted state of Louisiana for over thirty years now. One of Anne Sexton’s graduate poetry students at Boston University at the time of Sexton’s suicide in 1974, Kane moved to Louisiana. Since 1999 she has lived in Natchitoches, where she teaches at Northwestern State University.
Kane published two poetry chapbooks in England and a first book of poems with a New Orleans regional press, but it was not until the publication of Rhythm & Booze in 2003 that her work came to national attention. Rhythm & Booze was Maxine Kumin’s selection for the National Poetry Series, and it went on to become one of four finalists for the 2005 Poets’ Prize. Kane’s third poetry collection, Jazz Funeral, is judge David Mason’s selection for the Donald Justice Poetry Prize; it will be forthcoming from Story Line Press in the spring of 2009. Additional honors for her poetry include a Fulbright Scholarship, an Academy of American Poets Prize, the George Bennett Fellowship in Writing at Phillips Exeter Academy, two New Orleans Writer-in-Residence terms at Tulane University, a Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Poetry Award, the Open Poetry Sonnet Prize, a Pushcart Prize nomination, and first prize in the Mademoiselle Magazine College Poetry Competition. She is presently at work on her fourth collection of poems, a volume of light verse to be titled No-Win Situations.
Kane is also a nonfiction writer, editor, translator, and scholar. The Vietnam memoir that she co-authored with Kiem Do, Counterpart, became a History Book Club featured alternate. Umpteen Ways of Looking at a Possum, a collection of poems and essays about the late Everette Maddox that she co-edited with Grace Bauer, was one of three finalists for the 2007 Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Book Award in Poetry. Her research interests include poetic form, neuroscience and poetry, and Louisiana writers.
Read a complete bio at Julie Kane's website.
ISBN 978-0-252-07140-9, 65 pages, $14.95
University of Illinois Press, 2003
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