The Blue Mountain Review Issue 11

Page 95

Earl Braggs

Walking Jazz: an an Interview Interview with with

Earl Braggs Matazo

interview by Casanova Green As a musician, I have learned to love the complexity and the serenity of jazz. I was always amazed about how a genre of music could lean so heavily on creative cooperation while allowing the individuality of others to shine. Amid craziness, Jazz brings peace and allows you the room to chill, inhale the moment, and taste every note. When most people think of Earl Braggs, they think award-winning poet and novelist, writer of ten collections of poetry including his newest work Negro Side of the Moon, and celebrated professor. When I think of Earl, I think of a walking jazz record. He is different from many writers I have read and worked with. He is meticulous but relaxed. Everything has a plan and a place but makes room for the parts of the plan—the players, the images, the words—to shine. Each word he speaks is a bomb of wisdom that makes you stand back in awe and reflect upon yourself and how using this wisdom will help you become a better writer and better person. As a beneficiary of his time and mentorship, I wanted to ask him the questions that have been on my mind and get some more of his wisdom. Pull up a chair, get a good drink in your hand, and join me as we take in jazz.

Briefly tell us about yourself. Braggs: I am a country boy with a city-boy attitude. I realize as Booker T. Washington said, “There is just as much dignity in the tilling of the soil as in the writing of a poem.” Great and honest value, I place on small things. Many small things I ssue