Please wait for the transmissions, however faint.
Listen: when a stranger steps into the elevator with a bouquet of white
roses not meant for you,
they’re meant for you.
– excerpt from “Stay” by Kim Addonizio
Now We’re Getting Somewhere
“Blues is a tonic for whatever ails you,” as B.B. King once said. Mixed in a highball glass with good gin, Kim Addonizio’s bold, irreverent and wildly appealing poetry delivers the same invigorating buzz. In her new book, “Now We’re Getting Somewhere,” she confronts present-day political gloom and the messy, lost and lonely parts of personal life with raw and unflinching detail – but then subverts the darkness with flashes of wicked humor, clever absurdities, and poignant wisdom. As an accomplished blues harmonica player herself, she knows how to bend a tune, and there’s rich musicality and rhythm in her verse. And somehow through these songs of struggle a certain solace emerges, a hint of hope from a helpful heart. Quoting Elizabeth Taylor in one of the book’s epigraphs, “Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.” Maybe those white roses are for you.
Along with “Now We’re Getting Somewhere,” we’d be remiss not to include Kim’s 2014 classic, “My Black Angel: Blues Poems and Portraits, ” which has become a kind of collector’s piece among poets and musicians. The book pairs her fierce and beautiful blues poems with Charles D. Jones’ woodcut renderings of musicians like Robert Johnson, Big Mama Thornton, Muddy Waters, Billie Holiday, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and John Lee Hooker. This creates a “duet” of text and image – each amplifying the other and elevating the voices and stories of anguish, grit, humor and glory. Of the book, iconic singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams wrote, “I don’t just hear the blues in these poems. I see the blues in these poems. I see myself in these poems.”
Kim has published eight books of poetry, two novels, two short story collections, and two books on writing poetry: “The Poet’s Companion” (with Dorianne Laux) and “Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within.” Her work has been recognized with a Guggenheim Fellowship, two NEA Fellowships, two Pushcart Prizes, and her collection “Tell Me” was a National Book Award Finalist. Kim’s poems and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Poetry, The Sun, and many anthologies.
KIM ADDONIZIO - MY BLACK ANGEL: BLUES POEMS & PORTRAITS