"the arts are just a part of the weapons of life"
January 5, 2013 10:08 AM   Subscribe

The poet Jayne Cortez passed away this past December 28th in New York City (New York Times obituary). She started publishing her poems in the late 1960s and in the 70s began performing her poetry backed by music, first in collaboration with bassist Richard Davis, and then backed by her own band The Firespitters. Some of their tracks have found their way to YouTube: I See Chano Pozo, If the Drum Is a Woman, There It Is, Maintain Control & Economic Love Song I, Everybody Wants to Be Somebody, Takin' the Blues Back Home, Talk to Me (for Don Cherry), I've Been Searching, You Can Be and Endangered Species List Blues. Just two years ago she performed solo with her son by Ornette Coleman, drummer Denardo Coleman: Find Your Own Voice, I'm Gonna Shake and She Got He Got. In 1997 she was featured on University of California television network in the series Artists on the Cutting Edge where she read poems and discussed her work. Finally, here's a brief clip from the 1982 documentary Poetry in Motion, where she was interviewed.
posted by Kattullus (4 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Losing so many amazing, strong women's voices lately.
posted by desuetude at 1:27 PM on January 5, 2013

Oh, heavens. Bless her for all she accomplished. Her voice will be missed.

I know the winter is a tough time for older people, but it feels like we're losing so many icons this winter (as desuetude says).
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:19 PM on January 5, 2013

Yeah, my reaction to seeing the Jayne Cortez obituary was: "Oh no, not her too!"
posted by Kattullus at 9:32 PM on January 5, 2013

I saw her perform at the 2001 Vision Festival in New York City and will always remember that as one of the most electric poetry performances I've ever seen. She was luminous on that stage, and every other stage on which I was lucky enough to see her...hard to accept that her magnificent voice is now silent.
posted by deliciae at 12:21 AM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

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