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under the aegis of a winged mind
by makalani bandele
Autumn House Press, 2020
Paper: 978-1-938769-58-0 | eISBN: 978-1-938769-62-7

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ABOUT THIS BOOK
The poems in under the aegis of a winged mind are inspired by the life and times of the jazz composer and pianist Earl “Bud” Powell. Powell was a leading figure in the development of jazz, but throughout his life, he also faced struggles with police brutality, harassment, drug and alcohol abuse, and mental illness. In this collection, makalani bandele explores Powell’s life through a blend of both formal and free verse persona poems. These poems are multivocal, with the speaker often embodying Powell himself and sometimes a close friend or family member, the spectator of a performance, or a fellow musician.

While the book follows the narrative of Powell’s life, the poems are experimental in form and presentation. Playing with, reinventing, and restructuring poetic form, bandele draws on blues and jazz music theory to serve as a basis for much of the work’s construction. He uses language to recreate the experience of music itself, and his poetry includes a multitude of references and allusion to music lyrics and other poems. As the book recounts Powell’s life, it also explores how Black genius has encountered, struggled against, and developed mechanisms to cope with White supremacy in the United States. under the aegis of a winged mind won the 2019 Autumn House Press Poetry Prize.
 

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