My thanks to Rajat Sharma for introducing me to this poem...
(Poem #684) Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey
Scrambled eggs and whiskey in the false-dawn light. Chicago, a sweet town, bleak, God knows, but sweet. Sometimes. And weren't we fine tonight? When Hank set up that limping treble roll behind me my horn just growled and I thought my heart would burst. And Brad M. pressing with the soft stick and Joe-Anne singing low. Here we are now in the White Tower, leaning on one another, too tired to go home. But don't say a word, don't tell a soul, they wouldn't understand, they couldn't, never in a million years, how fine, how magnificent we were in that old club tonight.
There's nothing, absolutely _nothing_, like the excitement of a good jazz performance... Carruth does a wonderful job of capturing both the magic of the show, and the harshness of the setting . And in a strange, almost mystical way, the former redeems the latter, leaving the speaker, his fellow musicians, and the audience in a state of exaltation, as it were... thomas. [Biography] Hayden Carruth was born on August 3, 1921, in Waterbury, Connecticut, and was educated at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Chicago. For many years, Carruth lived in northern Vermont. He now lives in upstate New York, where until recently he taught in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at Syracuse University. Noted for the breadth of his linguistic and formal resources, influenced by jazz and the blues, Carruth has published twenty-nine books, chiefly of poetry but also a novel, four books of criticism, and two anthologies. His most recent books are Reluctantly: Autobiographical Essays (Copper Canyon press, 1998); Selected Essays & Reviews; Collected Longer Poems; Collected Shorter Poems, 1946-1991 (awarded the National Book Critics' Circle Award); and Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey (1996), which won the National Book Award for Poetry. Informed by his political radicalism and sense of cultural responsibility, many of Carruth's best-known poems are about the people and places of northern Vermont, as well as rural poverty and hardship. He has been editor of Poetry, poetry editor of Harper's, and, for 20 years, an advisory editor of The Hudson Review. Carruth has received fellowships from the Bollingen Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and a 1995 Lannan Literary Fellowship. He has been presented with the Lenore Marshall Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, the Vermont Governor's Medal, the Carl Sandburg Award, the Whiting Award, and the Ruth Lilly Prize, among many others. -- The Academy of American Poets, [broken link] http://www.poets.org/poets/poets.cfm?prmID=236 (The above website also has links to several other Carruth poems). [Links] Here's an essay on Carruth's life and his poetry: [broken link] http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/olv3n2.html#carruth Adrian Mitchell's wonderfully laidback "Jimmy Giuffre Plays 'The Easy Way'" is both very different from today's poem, and startlingly alike; read it at poem #337