"When I Die I Will Go To Jazz" at Raise Up Off Me Alley
Last week, SFJAZZ Poet Laureate Ishmael Reed's poem "When I Die I Will Go To Jazz" was installed on the north gate of Raise Up Off Me Alley (named to honor jazz legend Hampton Hawes) at the SFJAZZ Center. Come by the Center and have a read!
Ishmael Reed was a clear choice to fill the new SFJAZZ Poet Laureate chair. An acclaimed poet, playwright and novelist known for his polemical works about American political culture and social oppression, as well as the jazz-like rhythms accented through his language, Reed resides in Oakland after retiring from a UC Berkeley professorship.
Ishmael Reed on being the SFJAZZ Poet Laureate:
"Jazz has given so much to me; maybe now I can give something back."
The SFJAZZ Poet Laureate chair was created to celebrate the connection between poetry, jazz and spoken word, and to inspire young poets and musicians to further their craft and contribute to the global conversation of art. Reed curated the 1st Annual Poetry Festival earlier this year, presenting many of California's great poets in Joe Henderson Lab. Reed continues this dialogue between word and sound at the 2nd Annual Poetry Festival, April 3-6, 2014, as part of the SFJAZZ Center's Season 2, currently underway.