Jelly Roll: a blues

Finalist, National Book Awards 2003 for Poetry

Jelly Roll: A Blues, by Kevin Young book cover
ISBN 9780375709890
Alfred A. Knopf / Random House, Inc.
Kevin Young author photo, credit Melanie Dunea
Kevin Young

Kevin Young is the author of a previous work of nonfiction, The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness, which was a New York Times Notable Book, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism, and the winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize. More about this author >

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From Blues to Dixieland to Ragtime, early 20th century American popular music serves as a stylistic and thematic model for the poems in this collection. The poet limits himself to short verses, often of only two lines, complementing his urgent and highly personal subject matter while lending melodic vocal attributes to the verse. The collection infuses decades-old American lyric formulas with contemporary diction and vernacular, and, in so doing, recasts the past in the most contemporary of terms.