I should have known

I should have known

that day in Riverside Park

when the sight of a three-legged dog

seared my four-year-old mind

that this was going to be

an imperfect world.

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Happy to be a part of Word Fest, if only from a distance . . .

With wall-to-wall poetry for a full week, Albany’s Word Fest, now in its nineteenth year, is an amazing showcase for the region’s extraordinary literary community. I’m a few thousand miles away but very pleased to be able to participate through the event’s “Online Open Mic,” a new feature this year. Thanks Albany Poets!


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A great review from the U.S. Review

“For poetry aficionados and the casual reader, this is one of the few poetry collections that grabs you from the opening poem with its intensity and never lets go.”

Read the full review here:




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An interview with Feathered Quill . . .

Pleased to have the opportunity to discuss The Last Jazz Fan and Other Poems with interviewer Ellen Feld.

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Amazon reader review . . .

“Roughly 37 cents per poem. And they’re really good poems.”

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A new review of The Last Jazz Fan and Other Poems

“. . . I expect each reader will find something special and amazing in the poems within this collection. ”

Read the full review here: https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/the-last-jazz-fan-and-other-poems


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Here’s how “The Poem I have Yet to Write” came to be . . .

Here’s how “The Poem I have Yet to Write” – one of the poems included in my new book, THE LAST JAZZ FAN AND OTHER POEMS – came to be. People seem to be reading it many different ways, but – for me – it began as a tongue-in-cheek response to a comment by the late, great Philip Levine, who said:

“One of the aspects of my own poetry I like best is the presence of people who don’t seem to make it into other people’s poems. Much of our recent poetry seems totally without people. Except for the speaker, no one is there. There’s a lot of snow, a moose walks across the field, the trees darken, the sun begins to set, and a window opens. Maybe from a great distance you can see an old woman in a dark shawl carrying an unrecognizable bundle into the gathering gloom. That’s one familiar poem. In others you get people you’d sooner not meet. They live in the suburbs of a large city, have two children, own a Volvo station wagon; they love their psychiatrists but are having an affair with someone else. Their greatest terror is that they’ll become like their parents and maybe do something dreadful, like furnish the house in knotty pine. You read twenty of those poems and you’re yearning for snow fields and moose tracks.”

So, here’s what I wrote:

The poem I have yet to write

will arrive
fully formed
except for one small
truth tucked into
the smoky recesses
of the unexpected
caesura that waits for you
somewhere beyond
the deep green pond
that cools
the second stanza
and gives up
rippling reflections of
an image we encountered
in the first in which
a solitary figure
can be seen casting
cerulean sensibilities
across a meadow
where wildflowers
and metaphors bloom
like approximations
of redemption or like
tiny epiphanies
bursting into flame
among the spindle trees.



Copyright 2018 Kenneth Salzmann

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The Last Jazz Fan and Other Poems reviewed on CompulsiveReader.com

“It’s one of those sweet sax solos disguised as a book of poetry, trilling down with ease into the marrow of your bones.

“Kenneth Salzmann may be a musical guy enthralled with jazz, but in this instance music is really a metaphor for poetry. He is a poet. I’m a fan of poetry like his. It’s as simple as that–and as messy. You see, his poetry really does creep into the bones, the marrow, the blood.”
Jan Peregrine, Compulsivereader.com

Read the full review 

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See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: The Last Jazz Fan: And Other Poems (Kindle Edition).

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/20b732e00162dfde NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Aug 7, 2018 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed.

See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.


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The Last Jazz Fan and Other Poems by Kenneth Salzmann now available

The Last Jazz Fan and Other Poems, a collection of recent and selected poems by Kenneth Salzmann, is now available from Amazon.com and other major online booksellers.

The book has drawn praise from such literary notables as the iconic poet-novelist-activist Marge Piercy, who said, “Salzmann is a rare poet who can draft excellent and moving poems about nature and politics, about love and place, about old age, spirituality and friendship.

“You can feel in the poems the intelligence of the mind that created them and the compassion and wit of the poet.”

Novelist and short story writer Lucia Nevai, a recipient of the Iowa Award for Short Fiction and the author of Seriously (Little Brown) and Salvation (Tin House), said of The Last Jazz Fan and Other Poems, “Here is a mind unfairly comfortable with paradox, be it intellectual, emotional or spiritual — and a heart-breaking voice that is up to the task.”

The Last Jazz Fan and Other Poems contains 31 poems and retails for $10.95.

The Last Jazz Fan

for David Peirce

The last Jazz fan slipped

from the world one night

like the amorphous

notes of a trumpet solo

at closing time. Some say

reedy melodies hovered

above him like nimbus clouds

at the exact moment rhythm

left the room. Explosive riffs

be-bopped across the sky

when the last jazz fan

returned to stardust,

and clarinets cooled

the darkness. Some say

it is the silent spaces between

that describe the song,

but some say the spaces

might expand until

they swallow the song

and silence is certain.



“The Last Jazz Fan” was first published in Chronogram. Copyright 2017/2018 Kenneth Salzmann


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