Turn It Up! Music in Poetry from Jazz to Hip-Hop, edited by Stephen Cramer, is a vibrant and hip anthology of 400 pages, including poems by everyone from Langston Hughes, Allen Ginsberg, and Rita Dove to Yusef Komunyakaa, Kim Addonizio, Kevin Young, and Danez Smith. The book contains 88 poets in all (the number of keys on a piano), and is split up into three sections: poems about jazz, poems about blues and rock, and poems about hip-hop.
The now famous quote has been attributed to everyone from Steve Martin to Frank Zappa to Thelonious Monk: writing about music is like dancing about architecture. It just can’t be done, some say. The two arts are irreconcilable, some say. How can one pin down an invisible craft like music with the more absolute definitions of language? Well, the poets in Turn It Up!, responding to everyone from Louis Armstrong to the Rolling Stones to Public Enemy, prove that it can be done, and done in style.
Billy Collins has written of the anthology, “The two Venn Diagram circles containing readers of poetry and avid music lovers overlap greatly. With Turn it Up! Stephen Cramer has assembled a rich and varied anthology, which celebrates that common ground. Welcome to a delightful, action-packed collection no matter which circle you occupy.”
Allison Joseph writes:
“This anthology is number one on the charts—the hits keep coming and I can’t stop reading. Blues and rock, jazz and hip-hop—whatever you need to hear, this anthology has it. It’s a book I knew I needed, and a book I surely wanted, but here it is, in all its musical and muscular glory. I can’t help but sing when I pick up this book. Give it to your mother, your sister, your daddy, and your piano teacher. Everyone—poet, musician, fans of all genres—will love this collection of poems lovingly curated and knowingly served up!”
The book is available at either of these sites:
Sundog Poetry Center