Ted JOANS Lives!

Ted Joans was born on July 4, 1928 on a riverboat in Cairo, Illinois. His father, a riverboat entertainer, put him off the boat in Memphis at age twelve and gave him a trumpet. He is a painter, a trumpeter, and a jazz poet. His jazz poems are collected in a book called “Black Pow-Wow.” He earned a degree in Fine Arts from Indiana University, and in 1951 joined “the Bohemia of Greenwich Village, USA.” He has since recited his poems in coffeehouses in New York, in the middle of the Sahara, and in bookstores such as Recollection Used Books in Seattle. He has lived in Harlem, New York, Bloomington, Indiana, Haarlem, the Netherlands, and Timbuktu.


Beat Museum

Empty Mirror Books

‘The Sax Bit’

Recollection Books

Google, ‘Ted Joans’


for Ted Joans

I wanted to give you a weapon

of onyx and saffron

implement it in the dark nights

when all alone among bad poets

while sipping cumulonimbus

and puffing stratosphere

poetry is better than anything else

its death has been pronounced repeatedly

but they’ll never really nail it down

it is a cocaine rose

a rubble hurricane

balloon eyes above actual flags

flapping along infinity

with our tongues we put on the finishing touches.

—Larry Sawyer









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