Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Jeffrey Bean

Jeffrey Bean is the 2006-08 Axton Fellow in Poetry at the University of Louisville.

His poems appear or are forthcoming in Quarterly West, Southern Poetry Review, Willow Springs, The Laurel Review, The Eleventh Muse, Sycamore Review, New Orleans Review, Slate, and elsewhere.

Recently, I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
I love reading literary magazines. I collect them like comic books. I love the way they smell. And, since AWP was just over a month ago, I’m still happily thumbing (and sniffing) my way through the fresh stack of lit mags I lugged home from the book fair. My favorites so far have been the latest issues of Lyric, Willow Springs, and The Laurel Review.

I’m organizing a literary festival here at the University of Louisville, Split the Lark: The Border of Poetry and Music, and I’ve been reading some fascinating books by the festival participants. Right now, I’m finishing up Jazz Text, a scholarly work by Charles O. Hartman about the connections between jazz and poetry, and a book of poems called Gender Studies by my colleague Jeffrey Skinner. I especially like the section of that book called “Bill Evans and the Birds of Appetite,” a series of sonnets in the voice of the late jazz pianist Bill Evans. I find the poems incredibly moving, partly because Bill Evans is one of my all time favorite musicians, and partly because the language is so taut and musical, fresh and surprising.

I’ve also always got a classic going, some book in the I’m-embarrassed-to-admit-that-I-haven’t-read-that-one category. This week, it’s Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.
Jeffrey Bean is the first place winner of the 2005 Atlantic Monthly Student Writing Contest for poetry and a recipient of a 2005 AWP Intro Journals Project Award.

Read, or listen to Bean read, his poem in Slate, "Major Third."

Read his poems in the Fall 2006 issue of Willow Springs, "Encyclopedia of the Wheat," and "March," from New Orleans Review.

--Marshal Zeringue