snarly glitters


The title poem in the 1978 collection that Ash so rightly praised, “The Thing about Joe Sullivan”, written in 1975, is terrifically bracing and approachable, in its defiant way, and could be read as Fisher’s ars poetica. Fisher has worked as a professional jazz pianist throughout his life. He was a musician before he was a poet, and music has probably meant more to him than poetry. Fisher likes no jazz pianist more than Joe Sullivan, the rumbustious white Chicago artist who came up in the 1920s with Eddie Condon’s band. Like Fisher, Sullivan was an unabashed disciple of the Earl Hines style of playing, with that busily inventive left hand and the right hand playing octaves:

The pianist Joe Sullivan,
jamming sound against idea

hard as it can go
florid and dangerous

slams at the beat, or hovers,
drumming, along its spikes

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