Keith Denniston is the director of Creative Writing at Emporia State University, and is founder and past president of the Kansas Writers Association. Having worked in theatre as an undergraduate, he has long been a champion of creative writing as a performance art. He sponsors the Quivira Traveling Show, which present the efforts of students in the form of a vaudeville show.

Denniston tells us in his Preface that Jazz Moods has two parents: "Its mother was Edith Sitwell's Facade, written in 1925 with music by Sir William Walton" in which "Sitwell pushes poetry into the area of music, using the human voice as an instrument. . . I have attempted something like Facade, but with the content and the form of the poem coming from much closer to home. The father of the poem was a marvelous record album. . . Tim Weisberg's Night Rider. . . I tried to use Sitwell's techniques on Weisberg's music. Sometimes the added voice is a horn, sometimes a keyboard, a guitar, a trumpet. And with this freedom, I also played with point of view, from omniscient narrator to stream-of-consciousness monologue to first person. Each part of the poem became a fresh experiment. People and places merged. I had a wonderful time." The result is not only a marriage of words and music, but a verse-drama that, as performed by the author's own Quivira company, has been enthusiastically received across the state of Kansas. Audiences, too, have had a wonderful time.

    Last Call (excerpt)

    She stands alone
    On the black wet street
    In front of the BAMBOO HUT.
    She can't think
    Where she's got to go now.
    She doesn't know
    The right names yet,
    Is it Miranda
    Or Mary Jane?
    Though she knows
    She's far from home
    And in the dark now
    Because Emile
    Turns the red neon
    Sign off
    Till tomorrow
    That will go

    And Lula tells Emile,
    "The way my feet
    Are aching...."


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Jazz Moods
by Keith Denniston

5-1/2" X 8-1/2"
42 pages




















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