Poetry by Quincy Troupe

October 1, 1999 • 7 x 10 • 112 pages • 978-1-56689-090-8

Virtuoso poems of African American life, laced with the seduction of jazz and the crackle of politics.

Quincy Troupe launches a pyrotechnic display of jazz rhythms, political commentary, sports tributes, travelogues, and architectural abstracts in his latest volume of poetry, Choruses. Merging traditional poetic form with contemporary content, Troupe fashions words & sounds that build bridges toward a new tongue as he writes in Song, an ars poetica. Only Troupe could write a sestina chronicling the mass suicide of Heavens Gate, or a villanelle for Michael Jordan: “rising up in time, michael jordan hangs like an ikon, suspended in space / / his eyes two radar screens screwed like nails into the mask of his face.” A masterful technician, Troupe experiments with free verse as well, repeating the same words in three different line-break configurations in “Images: Three Variations of Shape & Form.” From haiku to tanka, from Mark McGwire to Sammy Sosa, from bebop to hip hop, these choruses “become sound tracks lifted off a poets tongue, / / syllables, within moments, are transformed into song.”

With oracular power and the boldness of jazz improvisation, these poems by the acclaimed biographer of Miles Davis celebrate modern African American life without shying away from sharp critiques of social injustice. Where ahead-of-the curve ideas and canonical form intersect, there you will find our best modern-day troubadour, Quincy Troupe.

About the Author

Featured in two PBS poetry series, Quincy Troupe is the author of seven volumes of poetry including Transcircularities and most recently, Errançities. In addition to chronicling his friendship with Miles Davis in Miles and Me, Troupe has recently published children’s books on Magic Johnson and Stevie Wonder. He is also the winner of two American Book Awards, a Peabody Award, and the title of World Heavyweight Champion Poet. He divides his time between New York and a countryside village in Guadeloupe.


“In all, the book’s five sections ‘blow out an endless supply / of edible solos,’ varied and deftly sung.” —Publishers Weekly

“Quincy Troupe writes a poetry for the ears, heart, and the whole body. This book is his most melodious and danceable yet.” —Al Young

“Few American poets have captured the rhythm and sounds of American poetry as well as Quincy Troupe. He is one of a kind.” —Ishmael Reed