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Home > Author > Catherine A Lee
Catherine A Lee

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Member Since: Dec, 2010

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  Catherine A Lee

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Heavily percussive, my jazz poetry does not resonate silently from printed page—these cries need hearing. Stop. Look. Listen.

Background Information

My poetry springs from an oral and spiritual tradition with similarity to jazz/ blues music development. My early influences were recordings where poets join jazz ensembles, e.g., Langston Hughes or Kenneth Patchen reading with Charles Mingus’s Jazz Workshop, or Jack Kerouac’s work with a pianist and sax players. The late Ted Joans, one 1950s originator of Beat poetry, trained me in 1986-87 to improve my interactivity with musicians.

My practice is neither standard songwriting, nor “vocalese,” recreating virtuosic instrumental solos using words. Mine goes beyond the two common music/poetry collaborative styles: floating words above musician-initiated rhythmic patterns, or reciting to elicit response by improvising musician(s).

I intentionally fit my words—loosely as a jazz drummer might insert unanticipated beats—into the structure of a tune, while musicians play that form. The song may have other lyrics, or a well-known title. Just as jazz soloists express ideas to hipsters by “quoting” phrases from other compositions, I choose to associate songs with my poems that deliberately—but subtly—embellish my message with allusions to implied words or concepts.

I thrill to live in a virtual world where sounds can be associated with text. I invite you to visit my VIMEO and SoundCloud sites to see/hear/experience how print poetry comes alive.

Birth Place
Newark, NJ USA
Additional Information

I am a poet who has been working for many years with jazz musicians in Boston, San Antonio and Asheville NC. In 2015 I am running stART Playing Poetricity Workshop in San Antonio, to train others how to pair music with poetry. I am sharing knowledge that was entrusted to me by mentors, Percy Johnston, tedjoans, Cecil Carter, Bill Gundry, and others. I recorded in 2014 with Asheville NC bassist Zack Page and pianist Aaron Price, you can hear these poems on Soundcloud. I also produced 3 1-hour radio specials focused on teaching and perpetuating authentic jazz poetry, broadcast on KRTU-FM in April 2014 and now available 24/7 at Soundcloud.

Favorite Links

Jazz poetry in the act

on Facebook
You will like "Inspired by Ornette Quartet? Hell Yeah!"

Soundcloud audio
Recent recordings (2014) with bassist/pianist duo, and jazz poetry radio specials broadcast in April National Poetry & Jazz Appreciation month

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