Braggs 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, brings a wide range of characters and social circumstances to life on the page.
Prophetic, American as the blues, Braggs' poems take the outrages of recent history into a vision where the heart and humor, irony and vulnerability enable poet and community to survive and sometimes sing. There is breathtaking bravery and edge to the voice here, Joycean stream of consciousness that refuses to be censored or subdued.
If poetry is music, Earl S. Braggs is its composer — in smoky, sensual, serpentine stanzas of jazzy poetry at its improvisational best: staccato-trumpeting lines, tempo-driven voices, melodic repetitions pouring into the corners of our consciousness, ragtiming us into booty-shaking highs, and tenor-saxing us into deep, deep downs.
EARL S. BRAGGS, UC Foundation and Herman H. Battle Professor of English at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, is the author of Hat Dancer Blue, winner of the 1992 Anhinga Poetry Prize selected by Marvin Bell. He is the author of these books from Anhinga Press: Walking back from Woodstock, House on Fontanka, Crossing Tecumseh Street, In Which Language Do I Keep Silent, Younger than Neil, Cruising Weather Wind Blue and Syntactical Arrangement of a Twisted Wind. He also is the author of Boy Named Boy [a Memoir] (Wet Cement Press) and Obama's Children (Madville Publishing).
"After Allyson," a chapter from his yet to be published novel, Looking for Jack Kerouac, won the 1995 Jack Kerouac Literary Prize. Other awards include Tennessee Arts Commission Individual Artist Grant and a Chattanooga Allied Arts Individual Artist Grant. Supported by Summer Fellowships from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, he has traveled and written in Russia, Ukraine, France and Spain. He is a native of Wilmington, North Carolina.
"Jazz runs through Moving to Neptune like a fishing line through lily pads — you can't always see it, but it's there, dangling its smoky lure, enticing a reader's ears. You can feel it, sense it, your whole body vibrant and attuned to its riffs and runs. In the title poem, an open invitation to the reader to kick back and swing to the hot as pepper sprouts band, to revel in the sultry sounds of Rollins, Mingus, Roach, Monk — and Lester Young, who we are told is moving to Neptune." - George Drew