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Music may be the universal language that needs no words—the “language where all language ends,” as Rilke put it—but that has not stopped poets from ancient times to the present from trying to represent it in verse.
Here are Rumi and Shakespeare, Elizabeth Bishop and Billy Collins; the wild pipes of William Blake, the weeping guitars of Federico García Lorca, and the jazz rhythms of Langston Hughes; Wallace Stevens on Mozart and Thom Gunn on Elvis—the range of poets and of their approaches to the subject is as wide and varied as music itself.
The poems are divided into sections on pop and rock, jazz and blues, specific composers and works, various musical instruments, the human voice, the connection between music and love, and music at the close of life. The result is a symphony of poetic voices of all tenors and tones, the perfect gift for all musicians and music lovers.