THE FRET CYCLE
for Paul Austerlitz

Fret Cycle



NOTES ON THE FRET CYCLE

The American picaro writ small is bumbling, poignant, obsessive, caught
between the lyrical and narration of place, time, geography (fate), mostly
local with special features on locale, a song in an inchoate idiom in process
attempting to complete itself in cylindrical fashion; he is, a picaroon
marooned and, in transit, somehow eloquent while asking (always) “WHO
AM I?” To see is also to hear: oral and aural.


To the reader:
The Fret Cycle strives to blend modes of lyric and narrative pulse without conforming
to the metronome: an American prosody as improvised conceit to tell by showing a
complex tale that strives to modulate simplicity of expression without diluting thought.
Because the cycle blends jazz, locality, the journey (inward and outward), one congests the
conventions of the classic picaro, from the ancients through the moderns [Gilgamesh,
Bocaccio, Chaucer, Milton, Keats, Ramayana, the Vedas, Emily and Walt, Melville, Twain,
Douglass, Bird and Trane, Bean and Elvin, Monk, Basie and Ellington, Stravinsky,
Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Zulu praise song, the Golden Stool], but the idiom is “American,”
self-consciously ‘innocent’ and searching towards a fully fledged maturity, a process of asking
“Who Am I?” in search for the covenant with self-conscious manhood. The musician as
artist is always accompanied by a spiritual mentor, the double, a negotiation with coming
to terms with one's humanity, one's doubts, one's "negative capability," most of all one's
humanness, and one’s embrace of the corporal world, while reaching towards transcendence.
The music of speech is the idiom of discovery. That speech is our idiom of sonics.
WE ARE WHAT WE MAKE.

It is always an art of commiseration: the couplet an open conceit, the periodic sentence the
prime meridian of style. From frustration and phrenody comes the combustible song. The
pattern is collaborative as prime, fundamental, irreducible, and in flux, in the American
idiom, where blues and jazz is sung with biography writ small. One takes comfort in
metaphor, reaching for a true image apprehended in the act of playing. The lyceum is not
the academy, but the artifice of making, an agitation to play despite any difficulty of having
to live in the world. There is no retreat but assertion: The art is in the doing. To make is
to live.




Fret (A Tune Near Composition in the Studio)


We’re just re-tuning among the dials
engineer a student (Chris)    we spoke of Scituate reservoir once

I'm sending him a book in the campus mail
(he has that shorthand    on email    of watery entitlement    a fix)

Paul    making new solos in accompaniment    writes new music
only he can hear    a praxis of support    near duet,    his unction

I watch him ‘fret’    over the blur of notched etching awhile back
when we were in the pitch of answering everything behind the beat

we will not be playing today my words now only an arrangement
an order    a pace    but his polishing a notion of fret to hone

what cannot be gone over again in performance    but with dials
amplified in taking away    holding the patterns    for editing

I told him once    (at Madeira’s in a list of specials)    anecdotes
of growing up into one's song    he speaks of his father    gone

a stylist of linguistics    from abroad    from elsewhere    his mother
less resonant in a solo career    which hovers now around tenure    to play

like no other in his sphere    every night    each day    for fresh fret
so we can go back into the zone of talking together over song    riffs

not ever gathered into a garden while he practices new cuisine
hangouts with his sensei    after workouts    to keep his limbered    reed

greased for he seldom orders soup    but fish like ancestry Icelandic
an airline of composition   over space    like light near the pole

but his love of warmth    say Dominican Brazil    a talk of equality
in playing   amber   smooth   canejuice which can’t evaporate at palate

when taste is all    vintage of genes like spices    in our neighborhood
of an alphabet of notes    declensions    arpeggios    floss    Monk

taking each black key    into embouchures    an attitude    of gloss
vocabulary    a pattern    unthought out   but felt in fret   his own   soup

‘sauce’    he says    with olives    the pits a sandpile    reservoir
of studio work    now fret    your folks are waiting    to exit over you

 

 

 

A Note From Cathy at Yaddo

the dog that bit Patty Sopp    belonged to Katy De Groot
(Fret will occupy her father’s house    down by the river

just before studio session)    parable of the bite
for a dog that only guards the premises

Yaddo mascot    no    but De Groots wanted us to know
the story    so play it Paul    on bass clarinet

so the bell    which recites the tones
also catches the pitch of dog

all microphones spiked
in adjacent rooms

 

 

The Lesson for Paul on Catherine Clarke’s Birthday

Padre says ‘you were bad last night’ but not
in performance    wondrous overtones    sonics

to rhyme with tonic and GIN    too much for one
sonata    which you could have written    ‘first thing’

but you were missing breakfast    lunch    De Groot’s
ass the apple of your attention    just around the bend

the river    where you will compose the suite
of all the ancestors    the factory closed down

after Pearl Harbor    in nearby Whitehall
(remember when you go for your massage

Raymond Moriyasu’s    father was in the 442nd in Europe
finally allowed to fight his ‘mentors’    in the open

too many Japanese-Americans in Hawaii to encamp
the parachutes we lost in metaphor for easy landings

near fresh water)    you’ll play your bass clarinet
fretting for the answers to how to trap the music

not caught in the bell    of Tom Lopez’s studio
once a hippy hangout    a lowbrow dream of equity

in another lost cause    you will come to know
the supply line of the Hudson at this crossing stage

of another war (perhaps Page 1 your own) combining
in the nearby fields    a team of mules at the barge

for here was the canal which went to Plattsburgh
an underground rr station for John Brown (Lake Elba)

which is the lesson
as you move your quarters in the woods

 

 

 

Fret In the Woods


Even with driveup mosquitoes
while you focus on lime

you camp in your head on the river
“ass”    is the feature    heartwork

the slang of ass a full-time job
(praxis a galaxy of women all vintage)

can you stand this ancient proverb
“the song turns into itself as bramble”

somebody got thrown into the briar patch
honeybee and honeystruck pollination

in the next life you will conjure
your own children    the source Bahia

military coups will be native    morpho
(a shirt you own but will not wear

a brand of pollen    attractive    disease
for some species of deceit    caretaker)

the reed is to be listened to    as Coltrane
cautioned    he spent most of his time

conjuring the supreme    right here on
earth    while Elvin was the mask incarnate

country music is what to focus on now
(the bites you get the price: inoculation)

like any cellphone you speak into dark
by calling out tunes you can’t remember

when not driving    the gig is just ahead
(you fantasize the drive back    easily

don’t die on the hwy racing to cabin)
somehow the divine enters your mouthpiece

you will have no more innocence about Y
but you will rewind the clock Fret    less!

 

 

 

Table Notice

Fret reads this with his lunch
(the day he leaves is when the pool opens

and he takes this personally:
Venezuela, Argentina, Italy, LA

all the muses at the table
he will not swim with them

having left his suit elsewhere)
he takes out his bass clarinet

in the woods where he's been moved
since leaving the ‘pink’ room

with the pitch machine for jive
upbeats, modulations, adjustments

then he takes the Padre texts
he has recorded and walks that music

into the woods    it is raining    sunny
soon he will be by the river    ax ready

where De Groot might appear to hear
him solo    he will be alone    that dog

who goes for a walk at the same time
known to bite just anybody if pitch

is tonally correct    and Fret worries
just a little behind the beat    about

this problem    the problem of ass is
very different    juice    off the bell

where only partial aspects of sound
can follow    he gives notice    to swim

elsewhere    with Elvin's ghost
which is still hanging around

hung over just a little on gin
ancestral libations having glow

on both sides of the equator
meridian    hemisphere    orisha

preferring fish after he works
tonic with his ‘ten’ without any tab

I tell him this little initiation
is a trial run    nothing to worry

ass will always be the problem
fascination that does not come only

from Finland    his mother's research
at teaching him to read    his father's

linguistic gifts    at being foreign
Fret a true American    loving the music

of every aboriginal birdcall    parse
of organic form his weakness    at

writing it all down   then explication
to tame the critics   while he hears ass

apologizes for it    the stiff drink juice
across his lap    while waiting to enter

this part of the ensemble    improvised
players coming and going    some who read

others who can’t    and won’t    compress
that part of the schedule    Fret won’t

ever be the same    he knows this truth
he ponders the fact of the river    dog

pitch    ass    mother who made him study
prepare    father who outlived her

didn’t do right by her    or so he thinks plays the
aria of Yaddo (meaning shadow)

 

 

 

Fret Skips Town for a Gig in New London

Recording machine goes with him
though he says otherwise; lost sessions

bother him    ass does not    he speculates
what's catchable is like gin    disappearing

guaranteeing nothing in the creative tank
(yet he struggles with routes    only)

his fetish is to play badly for money
(he thinks I don't see this obsession

but Yaddo allows failure every day    studio
in the woods also    East Room no picnic)

he misses the witticisms of bacon and cakes
(not the Bruce variety but french toast

the inmates love it    syrup like molasses
which I attribute to rum trade cane flax)

We will take this up when Haiti swims up
the many bodies of the deep in his craw

We will get some Finland stories    Nokia
fishkill    serfs    pogroms    lute fantasies

an instrument akin to ass    he says    sleep
walking his way to the lotion to dose

Pulitzer’s new rules    where he can stand up
make changes    run down Lacy    who just died

I must point out the change of name in obit
Astaire not able to dance any rhythm

but no slouch with partners    film    silent
it doesn’t matter    ugly    nice threads

 

 


Fret Deep in the Woods

Untuned piano    still the birds flock
your sessions    prodigious (Elvin    spirit

now is lone accompaniment    he had no
children in “Nagasaki” or “Pontiac”

but the pied piper of drums calls
you can't help but answer)    behind wheel

tunes collapse around your ears
(the smell of women    torment you)

you play into and over them for praxis
they write their names on your feet

you begin to clean up around the flat
(little mini-recorder punishments    regal)

you stop drinking entirely    meals fallow
toasts in the town are unfriendly    muse

talks into the meadow across the night
(you can hear horses    winnowing silence

across the lap of your shoes    anklets
silk shirts    the gift of the morpho

alive at riverside)    libation    libation
in every element    you try to go home

early    but the melodies have you gutshot
you learn to walk with such pain    soldier

formations    bayonets    infantry lore
sonnets file onto the memo stand    padre

has told you so    you will listen    faintly
put aside the staggered machine: orchestrate

 

 

Fret Leaves Yaddo

Because you are drinking beer
the missing of breakfast is strategy

some leave notes others want you
to drop by    but packing is proverbial

and not to be tested    like water
in the dirty swimming pool

where you can wash your clothes
while you ‘chat’ en route to email

some you’ll meet in new york
others will compress your shuttle

into the weave of materials
the craft of    ‘making’ modest but steady

nest is the order of the day
(last night you saw a deer    robust

the leaping factor bright
like the eyes of the hunted

Fret thinks of Haitian music
the cost of that music    artmaking

with or without the military)
G8 goes on in Sea Islands    Gipper

gives the nation a holiday    called
‘the communicator’    lest you forget

you have been doing in your studio
East Room is not pink room

the pitch moves    the tent is collapsed
Vermont two hours north    paydirt

 

 

Ghost of Fret at High Table: Mansion

Bouquet    squats at center    peonies
Chinese garden music Fret    quips

sits on the lap of the redhead    forlorn
Fiona’s papa    squeezes all juice

from the Philharmonic    vegetarian    mama
Juilliard stuck tightens the hold    pox

americana    jogger killed    for no reason
not far from the bridge    Fret plays

for the young and old asses of the apple
but does not get lost on city politics

he slyly puts the touch on redhead
(Padre told him about that melody

just one note    one finger    on sweet spot)
he moves to the silent table    a patch

but one of fresh soil    Blows his ax
one last time    his cellphone on quiet

so allcanhear    his solo    Music Room
ready    acoustics    like cathedral tones

at Dutch’s flagdraped caissondrug coffin
(Vermont’s homebrew faint now    riffs

he could not learn in school now evident
in all his muscles    the soft reed    broken)

but ‘strong in the broken places’    chants
slowly into the vacant seat beside him

the ghost—ancestor analogy touches
the master chords    he memorizes

 

 

 

Fret’s News From the Front: Yaddo After

provost with no pouilly-fuisse power
to bring back Ray Charles “Robinson”

sends a word in channels    protest
prairie dogs put up resistance

redhead pigeontoed painter    no dreds
keeps prancing around    the premises

lost    but steady    martini glasses    still
in the back fridge    Katy    always    on

expenses    has left the building    ‘hello’
more resonant than...    “goodbye”

I noticed Danielpour repaired convertible
with a local washing    off to    New

Hampshire on personal maneuvers    found
several clumps of    honeybees    in tower

but    like the snapping turtle    keeping
his distance    cellphone    opera    localfair

on the ready    Fiona read about her father
in the nyt    his ‘animal’    implements

a swimming pool    opening outdoors    from
inside    her psychiatric meanderings    no

longer disguised    in treatments    Phil-
harmonic    Mr. caisson is gone    dimes

still belong to FDR    Nancy    chastened
on her knees at sunset    (you don't have

any Irish brogue I can fathom    so get
yourself    a    ‘Jewish’ lawyer )    and sue    bad

 

 

 

Martini Glasses Galore

Ten and Russian gone but vermouth
a trace    no olives    bandits ate ‘em

around the perennial fire of night
the makers gather    lying    prostrate

in their rooms    bats occasionally
enter    chased down by nets    upside

down a yoga expert turns back nyc
upsidesmanship    murder    mayhem breach

in town the stablefiretenders come
north    cats    calming the horses

I see them at the Yaddo lakes    fishing
or watching the undertow of branches

take the silt    minnows    bass    survive
barely under the trees    the woods gut

spin out the filters of dust    mariners
come in SUVs    to garden the roses

by standing guard    occasional marriages
at the rose garden    oldtimers search

for the magical goldfish    long gone
actuarial tables stand up in clearings

a girl dances with her father    brother
can hardly walk for the shoes    staggers

away from childhood into children    bold
for not paying attention to her mother

but who listens    glow of part time ease
steady work of making due    do or don't


 

Fret Shows up at the Metropolitan

She’s leaving town for the apple    to sell
her wares on paper    contacts made on this

coast need phyla on that    agents galleries
gone sour    such delicate Mondrian corsets

spread out in precision    girdles back in
place    her stopping her work for four years

to recover    start again    a world missing
chastitybelt now an iron cage at exhibit

fitted into place    cameras she bought
unworkable    target    cvs failing except

for you    your instrument in your hands
the best part of her on paper    her heart

pounding as she packs up leaving wine
for Padre    who’s written a short madrigal

in her honor    asked back in this detail
the stay in Albany no blue hwy in leather

you break training for a day and let her
in an inch    the neckline broken    lost

weight    an appetite for all but food
lunches wasted    the steak she orders

in her head the first meal when apple
turns to core    heart    and brain show up

together    you intuit all    this with gigs
you should turn down    but drawn near her

you find the Met your mother did research
in    remember    she left space for this paper

 

 

 

The List: Yaddo

You will not be in touch with her
who has given up her wine    unopened

Argentina    California    an hour in
from the vineyards    Mondrian’s

artform sessions of composition
do not hide tears of the heart

ruthless in colorational design
medicines bought on camera infect

you said nothing late into evening
when I swim into your caverns    whist

a strategy of containment    bidwar
you cannot fathom by touch alone

the train you take N or S    empty
but collectible    caboose an axial

table where the dining is exquisite
to the tongue    but to the eye    illusory

the flesh goes bad over the trestles
we are saying goodbye in code    emails

handwritten only in another century
bionosphere    newsreels    documentaries

the still frame is best    negatives
large enough to contain    our world

our children    though we have none
collect    admire    admonish    eviscerate

backwards    in stereo    typescript
illegible    the soul leaves the body

 

 

 

Fret Leaves Yaddo in Disguise

Her perfume arrests    she gives Padre
two bottles of wine    Argentina red

California white the desert within her
only an hour east of San Francisco

but bleak    she will not speak before noon
(again  the papers   her paper   Mondrian

another gallery    another museum run    back
east    trainride all alone to the apple

blessing)    she will eat a large steak
and lavish the cooking for herself    mirror

touched up hair    she should not speak
to him by cell    payphones are delicious

when you're hungry    losing weight    blind-
sided by passions    long adrift    when she

stopped    working her designs    surrounded
by vegetarians    the fish   run    away from

her scaling knife    wriggling on drawing
board   dorsal fin   potent squid   be still

he would have driven her to her city
but his trunk is far too small   baggage

of this quality    demanding attention
he can not give    obsessive Argentinian

Venezuelan    Italian ass    now fading
into the red fleece above his lap

the one melody she teaches on his tongue
requiring new fingering    fresh reeds

 

 

 

Fret Having Survived Modernity

The ax falls in the meadow    Goliath
turns    the sling has but one rock

but it is the rock of ages    Fret
listens to the painters of old    musicians

will fail him if he's not steady
(alive on the table of redsweetend hair

he can do no evil and no good    just stand)
this will be a fight to the finish

as legend attests    instrumentation capsizes
but the solo melodic note rises toward him

the giant    who’s been foreshadowed by fall
and lost an eye in the process    retreats

the lawyers come into the picture    Fret
likes his chances    he cares not for battle

but resume    long lists of charts    headcase
that he is    standup only when he has to

he marvels at speed in practice    mornings
(late at night    fantasies    extraordinary

while playing live    with makeshift    ovoid
players    tambourines    choirs    caped maestros

for he is all things at once    symphonic
the piano answers the strings    oboes nod

he prefers homemade melodies    folksay
but damsel gives him purpose    he strides

across all crevices    all declensions
rabbi turns away from all texts    passover

he prefers holyrollers in makeshift haunts
(he builds in the basement of structures

beneath thresholds he's known before death)
annunciations    that circle of glow triumphs

[he becomes prime    prostrates himself
A  E  I  O  U]

 

 

Fret Discovers the Blues, Again

He got the thought    twice she was
ambidextrous    it was not her art

but her stride    pigeontoed    losing weight
with each step    chortling speech    at her

own juice    which were prodigious
having lost her gallery    stopped working

on paper    for four years    married again
the pink of her eyes framed in sterile

blue which made the orbs    enchanting
when she closed her lids    then opened

everything    to hold him close    to kill
his fear    his attitude    his pledge

not to fall into orbs    the Finnish
especially when displaced    became linguist

saturated    drank    too much    or not at all
and turned    technological    even when

fishing in shallow water    the deep    so
transporting by reflection    were classic

Norse highlights sprung into song    lore
eyeshadow taught him what blacks    down

South    brought with them on trains    buses
knapsacks    shopping bags    chickenhawk

songs of cottontail and rabbit    briarpatch
the light and the dark transmogrified

He’d fall for this woman's touch    forgot
himself    wrote melodies to her reflection

 

 

 

Ass

She pops holding him in place    refusing
to scratch any part of him    yet holding

him in place    a pouch    hamstrings opening
wetness prodigious    he cannot talk about

any of this but plays his ax    recklessly
a suite selects itself in the bathing

juices from the unopened vaults    reckoning
the pain gone fleece of locks    prisons

keys    a burst of hormones he cannot name
refusing to speak in the middle of lavish

kisses    the french know nothing when it
comes    to this bragging    talking shit

as though what stinks doesn't inflame
the body    into the mind    of no comparison

he washes his laundry    but not her sheet
the standing pole    where she whispers

his name    a text spoken for the first time
the food for thought    in appetite   spices

condiments without an ounce of fat on it
‘he means you’ the sediment of solos stolen

he begins to study the discipline of quality
he thought he could count in practice

the body swells and closes    down he rests
but when she’s near he puts his fingers

in the openings    what musicians call ‘breaks’
the looking around for options    new moves

letting her lead    forgetting to hold back
(he straddles the extreme unction of coitus

delivered and held back) stud that you are
this is the perfume you live for   seldom get

 

 

 

Fret in Studio With the Ancestors

without libation but in spirit    makeshift camera
he makes devotions á la condomblé

then popping his finger    asks for playback
“twiddlin’ thumbs”    the metaphors for passing over

the dark passages of the soul we conjure in Tom
Lopez’s country studio    right on the Hudson River at riverside

Fret has been practicing his own music scaring him with inventions
bass clarinet talking to him    free of microphones

the De Groot summer home in tune to riffs
he seldom imagines at eventide    sunset

looking west over every canebreak
he stomps    finger popping    off tempo

he’s swum    in the pond    to refresh
eaten lunch    fidgets    as is his proxy    to finishing

melodies    awaken the craw    ‘magic circle’    he breathes
in circularity    another lesson    outta school

as he hands me Brother “RAY”    in heaven
DVD    the world of jetlag descends

booty palms for booty lessons    of the flesh    and spirit
a baker’s dozen of Fret    lessons    building

toward a saga    under the surface    rivers
make you sing    when out of the woods

oxygen    one more element
to swim    by meridians    steady



 

Fret Finds the Instrument of Archipelago

She would be Chinese because of the spices
he gets this rush when watching the diving

needs no olympics    yet his mind wanders over the framing
of points level of difficulty    entry into the water

he admits to liking the wet hairs of the point system
when he sees the pool thinks of the rivers that need crossing

that which is ancient that which is new    collect as attitude
a passion for rum of the best vintage for his birthday

well, he takes into his arms the tenor soprano    his fingering intricate
as she said when he had her up against the walls of perspiration

we can’t call it sweat because his attention span in studio
is nothing like the bandstand    yet Fret comes alive at audio

the mask is the dance of adumbration
he is at home in that nation    thinks maroon runaway    creation

 

 

 

Mt. Pleasant Local Library

Van is there from Barrington
Nancy Craven without the shakes

Fret ready to blow (Emily cool with baritone
maneuvers    from Seattle    footwork he can’t see

for she escaped the bombs in Madrid trainsense
a long diary of muslims with issues)

I sit down    while Fret stands up    librarians
in kidchairs    all about    I start off with

“The Myth of Music” to steady my beat
for all the kids in the audience    and one

turns to her father and says    “I love you
Dad”    right on time and in key    about eight

The rest is routine    except Fret is too close
attention-span vexed    (he wants to solo)

then Emily comes in    terse poignant    “Harris
Collection” ready    with Dickinson embers

just above the transom    for the parents
who are glad they came    to the children’s

section of the neighborhood    all poems come
from there    my daughter’s riffs    “Nasty Poet”

building a literate way    new avenue    her own
house    petition to dreams    only she can make

 

 

Fret Finds the Open Field

I have told Fret about my former teacher    Henri Coulette    who wrote a poem
on the subject    “Tenure”    it is buried in his COLLECTED POEMS    long out of print

the picaro comes to mind because all the masters tell long stories
Sterling Brown would say    “they’re trying to bury the hatchet,

and it’s always in my head”    and Count called Tatum’s felicities on piano
“the Hatchet”    looking for a job in Pittsburgh    asking for favors ‘from the help’

before the master came in    and he always arrived early    for practice
(minimalism was always the approach to Basie’s band after that lesson)

I will not announce Move or ‘The Tulsa Riot’ of 1921 when the black section
was bombed from above    in the first instance of civilian blitzkrieg

(lessons learned by trench warfare during World War I)
I noticed you doctored the order of the compositions    crafted hot off the press

in your name    you took what you wanted    left the rest    for other picaros
(I told you about my ‘epic of search’ in the stacks of the l.a. state open stacks

the early coursework from insiders who migrated as birds toward paradise)
BIRD was the first that got my attention    see my poem on BEAN in HONORABLE AMENDMENTS

on Waterloo and mud    we both know you would be hell if only six feet tall
the instrument you’ve selected to depart the field of play on the Pembroke campus

contrabass clarinet silver in appearance a hum of switches at your feet for effect
“Ilu: The Talking Drum” by Etheridge Knight    conman    prisoner    addict    prince

starts the program    Obeng    a head full of proverbs    on all his African percussion
cunning    company to Royal’s drumming    roommate    soulsinger    stand-in for Elvin

we poured libation for him from the balcony of Yaddo’s mansion above kitchen
in this kitchen of the campus we pour mountain dew cachaca canejuice conjo

lost in performance the self lets the cork out of the bottle    wafts over audience
benign or malign    your enemies will be transformed    audio    video    condomblé

the religion of the elders    in both worlds    comes forward    ancestor worship
(man as artform    women    as singers    children    the fresh space of our waters)

WORD DRUM    DRUM WORD might be the answer to ancestry
lest we forget our beings/becomings are to thrive in the world of living    true

‘a light is asked for and a light is given’ ‘simply human is what their faces say’
I know today’s lesson    the making of the possible now cipherable    fretsome cryhue


 

Michael S. Harper is University Professor and Professor of English at Brown University, where he has taught since 1970. He is the first Poet Laureate of the State of Rhode Island, a term he held from 1988-1993. In 1991 he was Visiting Scholar, at large, for Phi Betta Kappa, visiting nince campuses. He has published fifteen books of poetry, two of which were nominated for the National Book Award (1970 & 1977), Dear John, Dear Coltrane and Images of Kin, New and Selected Poems. Images of Kin won the Melville-Cane Award for the Poetry Society of America : History Is Your Own Heartbeat, 1971, won the Black Academy of Arts & Letters Award for poetry. He has edited the Collected Poems of Sterling A. Brown, which he selected for the national Poetry Series, 1979. He is the co-editor of Chant of Saints, an anthology of African-American Art, Writing and Scholarship, and also co-editor of the "Ralph Ellison" special issue Carleton Micellany, winter 1980. He was guest editor for a special issue of Robert Hayden for Obsidian, 1981.

 

Harper