Bop Prosody, Jazz, and the Practice of Spontaneous Poetics

This study, “Bop Prosody, Jazz, and the Practice of Spontaneous Poetics,” explores the disparate concepts of jazz poetry while explaining the distinctions between the terms stated in the title. Through close readings of Hayden Carruth’s collection of jazz essays in Sitting In and through the writings of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and others, to write poetry as a jazz musician creates a musical improvisation is a “practice” more akin to Zen meditation than to traditional prosody. The terms bop prosody or spontaneous poetics represent the writer’s attempt at capturing the purity of spontaneous emotion in a literary medium similar to the improvisation method of a jazz musician.

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