Riehlife Poem-of-the-Day: “Miles of Jazz,” a Kwansaba by Darlene Duncan Swanson Roy

I first met Dr. Eugene Redmond at one of Freida Wheaton’s salons at Studio 51, her at-home art gallery. Eugene is one of the major figures of the Black Renaissance. His papers will be featured in a collection at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Since that first meeting I’ve come to admire Eugene each time our paths brush. One of his legacy’s is the Eugene B. Redmond Writers Club.

I went on to meet Darlene Duncan Swanson Roy at a workshop Eugene led during a writing conference in St. Louis. Darlene Roy, an East St. Louis native, is a whirlwind of effective activity. She’s a mother, retired social service administrator, and the Eugene B. Redmond Writers Club’s co-founder and President.

Darlene is an associate editor of Drumvoices Revue; and designer/co-convener of literary programming. Her poetry has appeared in numerous publications. Two of her poems were featured on Metro Link…poetry in motion. Darlene has authored one chapbook, Soon One Morning and other Poems. She has performed on radio, television, at universities and conferences throughout the United States.

The Eugene B. Redmond Writing Club developed the original poetry form known as the “Kwansaba.” Read a detailed explanation of the Kwansaba with more examples on this previous Riehlife post. You can experience the power of the Kwansaba with its cadence and condensed essence below in Darlene’s poem “Miles of Jazz.”–JGR

by Darlene Roy
A Kwansaba for Miles Dewey Davis, former East St. Louisian, and citizen of the world

Any jazz run ever blown, Miles outdid
with his fiery trumpet, heir of Dumas’s
Afro Horn that singed woes and morphed
into an All Blues kind of rule
letting us begin to dig our own,
gifts and schemes via funky chords that
anchor us from drifting like Autumn Leaves.

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