Cruising Weather Wind Blue has at its core the way music can save us. Earl S. Braggs has a remarkable memory and an amazing poetic voice. He will move the reader with his recollections, both painful and joyous.
Earl S. Braggs is a UC Foundation, Battle Professor at UTC. He is the author of ten collections of poetry. Braggs is the recipient of the Anhinga Prize, the Jack Kerouac Prize, the Gloucester College Prize and the Cleveland State Prize (unable to accept). His novel, Looking for Jack Kerouac, (finalist) James Jones First Novel Contest.
Cruising Weather Wind Blue confronts us with a combination of hard realism and musical lyricism, painting unforgettable images in unforgettable language. This is American poetry at its finest: as spacious as Walt Whitman, as frank as the Beat Poets, and as alive with witness as the poetry of the Black Arts Movement. Braggs is a master storyteller, bringing a wide range of characters and social circumstances to life on the page. From the loneliness and longing of an inmate in Folsom State Prison to the hard-won practicality of Miss Carolina Brown, we find resistance and hope on the “backside of/ ugly love.” Braggs’ voice and style are unlike that of any other poet I have encountered, with rhythms that embody the raw energy of blues greats like Bessie Smith and jazz legends like Miles Davis, capturing what it means to retain one’s dignity in a world where “Sign Here________/ is a question without a mark.” These poems will stay with you long after you read them, resonating their message of our shared humanity, documenting the pain and frustration of inhabiting the world—but also the great love and resilience we find here.