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Poems from Mornings and Midnights

When legendary diva, Gloria Silver reads her obituary in a music paper, she feels that the forgetfulness of the world has just gone too far. Then, listening to the radio, she hears one of her songs being sampled, without permission, by a contemporary group and concludes that there might be money in being alive.

£4.99

Author(s)
Rommi Smith
ISBN
9781845230494
Pages
32
Price
£4.99
Classification
Poetry
Setting
United States of America
Date published
1 Jan 2006

"Rommi's poems struck a chord in me as a musician and being the husband, son and brother of strong Black women. Poignant, visceral reading."
DENNIS ROLLINS

"Beautiful work, searing, political, committed."
Booker Longlisted writer BILL WALL

When legendary diva, Gloria Silver reads her obituary in a music paper, she feels that the forgetfulness of the world has just gone too far. Then, listening to the radio, she hears one of her songs being sampled, without permission, by a contemporary group and concludes that there might be money in being alive. So she writes to the press: ‘Dear Sirs, correct your facts/ send in your hacks... / I write to tell you/ I’m alive’ and sets in train a comeback of a kind, but one that leads through further pain, not to a revival of her fortunes, but to a deeper understanding of herself.
Using a whole variety of forms -- lyric, narrative, dramatic, epistolary, telephonic -- but always writing poetry that is spare but richly metaphoric, immediate but repaying multiple rereading, Rommi Smith creates the voice and world of Gloria Silver in all her feisty sensuality. Not least is this an evocative and imaginative homage to the African American jazz world of the 1940s and 50s.
Through Gloria’s journey of memory -- through sexual abuse as a child, the glorious aliveness of performance and the anti-climax of ordinary living, the intensities of her sexual relationships with both women and men and the despair of drug abuse -- Rommi Smith both creates an unforgettable character and has much to say about the nature of performance, the communion between singer and listeners, and the sometimes ironic distance between the singer and the song. And, of course, in creating Gloria and her distinctively Black American tone of voice, Rommi Smith creates both a character who ‘exists’ in her own right and a mask that offers rich potential for explorations of a more personal kind.

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Rommi Smith

Rommi Smith is a poet and playwright. She has held numerous prestigious international residencies for organisations ranging from the British Council, to the BBC; The Florence Nightingale Museum to The Houses of Parliament. Appointed as the BBC Poet in Residence for the Commonwealth Games in Manchester and Poet in Residence for BBC Music Live, Rommi has written and performed extensively across BBC Radio. She has been awarded commissions for programmes including: From Fact to Fiction; BBC Radio 4’s Afternoon Drama; Poetry Please, Late Junction; The Verb and Woman’s Hour. Rommi’s contribution to Woman’s Hour was a selected feature for Weekend Woman’s Hour.

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