#jillscott #oldschool #newschool #phillypoet #weliveinphilly

SOME OLD SCHOOL, SOME NEW SCHOOL

 

Most people that have read my writing over the years know that I have a great deal of affection for my home town of Philadelphia. I have often expressed dismay with the problems in the town but it has always been rooted in a deep affection for the area. 

Now, I get to write a review on a volume of poetry written by a fine Philadelphia poet.  Jill Scott has achieved fame as both singer and poet.  For now, I want to focus on her volume of poetry called The Moments, the Minutes, the Hours. This title from the St Martins Press was released in 2005. 

For the uninitiated, Jill Scott has attained a degree of success for her vocals. She has a couple of CDs out and has also guested on other albums. Truth be known, I first became of Jill Scott by accident. I was listening to a radio program that played a song by D.J. Jazzy Jeff. The song was called We Live in Philly and was based on the Roy Ayers' song We Live in Brooklyn.  Jill Scott was singing the vocals and I became her fan that evening.

It was a great moment as it led to an interest in a really wonderful artist. Serendipity can be a wonderful thing at times. It took some doing to actually get a copy of the DJ Jazz disc. It was actually easier to come across Jill Scott's solo work. I stumbled across her book while surfing through the web. I figured that I could afford 15 and some change for a hardback book. This was especially true since it was supporting a local artist.

The book is very well put together. The book is printed on glossy pages. The words are very easy to read. The eye will greatly appreciate this volume. It is also quite rewarding to note that there is some excellent poetry to be found on these pages. Scott is an urban poet with a flair for directness. Most of her poems are very accessible to the average reader. 

Jill began keeping her journal in 1991. She explains that she had a teacher that encouraged her to write. She ends up dedicating the book to her 8th grade teacher for introducing her to Nikki Giovanni and encouraging her to write. I love how she writes on her initial thoughts that Giovanni must be some Italian poet to learning to love Giovanni. She does include an introduction where she discusses her own literary evolution. I hope she provides further elucidation in future volumes. 

There is a lot of fine poetry in this volume. One of the early poems in the book is called The Downfall of a North Philly Freak. In this poem, Jill reflects sadly on a friend coming off one bad relationship and descending right into another bad relationship. There is a brilliant and beautiful poignant tone to this poem.

He Says is another really good poem. Here she talks of a love struck lover who sees only her good side and waxes poetic about it. This is a really sweet and pretty poem. I love the way she builds it up. This lovestruck dude is saying many wonderful things about her but she keeps her wits about herself. I love her conclusion to this poem:

 β€œHe says he loves me /I say I'm just lucky and I'm glad /he can't see that.”

Jill seems to possess a really earthy quality in her writing. She seems like she won't take shit in from her men but she won't give it either. I was happy in Independent Women (for Gia) when she expresses a deep affection for John Coltrane. It's hard for me not to fall in love with a chick that digs 'Trane. It's a shame I'm a balding, older white guy.  

This is a very good volume of poetry. The reason I haven't presented more samples is because the free verse style hasn't afforded many opportunities to do so. This is a great collection of poetry.  Jill Scott  is a strong woman and a proud resident of Philadelphia. I'm almost in love with her from reading this book and listening to her CD. If you dig poetry, buy this book. I would think my recommendation is reason enough.  

 

 

 

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Another review in the series of poets that I admire and that have influenced me in my life and writing.

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