Playing the Black Piano
In this collection of poems, Bill Holm—like a modern-day Walt Whitman bestriding America and the world—comments on the waywardness and promise of the human species.
Playing the Black Piano reflects Holm’s time in Iceland (his ancestral home), his ongoing love affair with music, a friend’s death from AIDS, and his bold reactions to the world around him. Moving from Oregon forests to the deserts around Tuscon, from the endless marketing of long-distance telephone service to the experience of undergoing an MRI, these poems speak of Holm’s full embrace of the world and his passion for living well.
This is a wise, musical collection from one of Minnesota’s most treasured poets.
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Praise and Prizes
“Bill Holm is not only one of the most alive poets in North America, but (let me not mince words) he is now expressing his view of the world in the finest poems he has ever written. . . . Here is the heart and fire of music, by God, in words—words that are kneaded through Holm’s rough fingers . . . . In these poems, Holm is playing the black piano for the rest of us with a power and an eloquence that is breathtaking.”
“Bill Holm writes the most wonderful poetry. . . . Likely to produce a slight smile, perhaps a tear, and most likely a nod of understanding for its insightful perception of life.”
“Delightful . . . Bill Holm is a musician as well as a poet. He fills his work with wonderful music, and with snapshots of his travels.”
“Will touch your heart and spirit . . . The kind of book you keep next to the night stand or next to your favorite recliner.”
“Bill Holm celebrates the free market of music, from Schubert, Gould and Tatum to musical beggars on Wuhan’s Luoshi Road in China.”