belief rarely breaks as a crashing wave, spilling smoothly through society.
Wheatfall, with Our Scarlet Blue Wounds, offers a discrete cultural reflection
that operates like water’s gentle lapping, wearing away stone. His poems grind
at fossilized belief systems still in authority.
astute poet’s language can layout emerging cultural terrain that’s not easily
accommodated by mass-media packaging, or a challenger’s political platform.
With confidence in his intimacy, Wheatfall speaks to those of us who haven’t
fully appreciated where we are. As individuals. Or as a society.
norms tumble down around us, this wordsmith serves as a pathfinder. We’ve left
the Age of Enlightenment that created fertile ground for an American
Revolution. With a maelstrom of tweets designed to crash news cycles, when data
transfers at the speed of light; a poet’s pause, to distill our reality, is
grounding. Fetching from history, pitting truth against media handlers’
propaganda, Wheatfall serves as a scout for consciousness ... setting compass
points in our Age of Dizzy.
through Our Scarlet Blue Wounds is like finding a new route to a home you’ve
lived in for a decade. You may pass through bad neighborhoods depicted with
bracing reality, but readers will likely realize they’ve been commuting on
autopilot. Not only have we failed to perceive side streets, feeding the flow
of 21st-century belief; but attentive, meditative readers will occupy their
actual residential conditions with new awareness.
a Citizen Poet speaks to you of “un-blurring,” listen to him. Your vision of
where we’re at will sharpen.
all confidence in your continued achievement,
Justice & Civil Right Activist ----------
To: Emmett Wheatfall <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Thank you!
you so for coming to speak to the second graders at our school. Since your
visit, we have seen a big change in our students. They are now so excited to
learn and study the craft of poetry! Their creativity has blossomed and it has
been so fun seeing them move beyond the realms of the standard writing
practices of second grade. You left a little magic in our classroom during your
visit and now each of our students is saying they "want to be just like
Emmett!" You are such an inspiration to all of us and we feel so blessed
to have had that time with you. You have such a gift and I am glad that Paul
and Sherry encouraged me to reach out to you.
students have written thank you cards for you and I would love to send them
your way. What is a good address to send them to?
Press – Announcement! Saturday, March 2, 2019
Each year, the
Eric Hoffer Award presents the da Vinci Eye to books with superior cover
artwork. Cover art is judged on both content and style. The da Vinci Eye
is given in honor of the historic artist, scientist, and inventor
Leonardo da Vinci. This is an additional distinction beneath the Eric
Hoffer Award umbrella.
We received word yesterday morning that Emmett Wheatfall’s book, As Clean as a Bone, had been nominated!
Publisher, Fernwood Press
Review: As Clean as a Bone
From "the perspective that black," Emmett Wheatfall gives us this
collection of evocative meditations on the African American experience,
meditations "seasoned with / the salt of [his] poetics." Ranging from
a tribute to contemporary black women ("Election Evening in Alabama")
to a lamentation spoken to Langston Hughes, these are moving poems that compel
us--all of us who call ourselves American--to "...sing a new song / for
what we are now."
Poet Laureate Emerita
Emmett Wheatfall's As Clean as a Bone is a collection for both the
heart and the mind, a collection seasoned with the vital and invigorating salt
of poetry and of wisdom. This remarkable book questions history, memory,
culture. Its poems don't just talk: They wrestle with experience, they debate,
they think and play, they sing out with love and pain. "Can we sing a new
song?" Wheatfall asks. With their musical cadences and resonant depths,
the poems in this new book answer back with a resounding YES.
author of Lantern and Iron String
"Do you know what I mean?" Emmett Wheatfall asks--a question he poses
in poem after poem, sometimes in agonizing and sometimes in darkly humorous
ways. Emmett calls upon us, his readers, to exercise our imaginations as we
read As Clean as a Bone, to know what he means about the black experience in
America and in the world.
author of death will come
Emmett Wheatfall's latest book As Clean as a Bone is just that.
Taking his title from James Baldwin, Wheatfall has produced a work that gets to
the core of things. "I question myself," he writes, and whether his
subject is race, justice, inequality or a "little black bo." his
poems speak with power and credibility. Time spent with As Clean as a
Bone is time well spent.
author of The Promise of the Trail
September 18, 2018
(Bette): Learn the Stories of Oters
because I’ve been thinking about racism, I keep coming back to last month’s
featured writer, African-American poet Emmett Wheatfall, whose book “As Clean
as a Bone” takes its title from Baldwin: “You want to write one sentence as
clean as a bone.” Wheatfall’s response to HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s remark
that “Slaves were immigrants coming to America in pursuit of the fledgling
American dream” feels bone-clean: “Show me boat manifests listing each slave by
as shattered as my slave ancestors were back then,” Wheatfall writes. But he
adds, “What was broken then is being reassembled.”
hope so. I do know stories help.
Review: As Clean as a Bone
Emmett, my Nubian friend, and the Last King of Africa (and
therefore the First King of Africa): Wow! This thematic collection of poems is
a landmark along your brilliant path. I need to reread so many and ponder them.
And then I need to sit with you in that wine bar and talk about them, about
you, about the world around us. (But no pinot gris for me; I prefer
immersion in reds).
Sherry and I have been reading these aloud to each other, which is how poetry
should be experienced. You have laid bare so much of yourself. You have shined
a bright spotlight into the dark shadows cast not only by yourself but those
cast upon you.
Brother Emmett--thank you for this. This is an incredible work...
It was nice meeting you and enjoyable listening to you
perform your poetry. As Joan mentioned, I think, when she introduced me, I am
the point person for the Oregon Poetry Collection at the University of Oregon.
The collection, which was started by the OPA at the State Library and is now
housed at the UO, aspires to offer a comprehensive representation of works by
Oregon Poetry, from the beginnings in the late 19th century to the present. I
see that we do not have any of your books in our collection and thus invite you
to send us your work for inclusion in the collection...(Basically, two copies,
one archival and one for the circulating collection, are sent to me).
Jeff Staiger, Ph.D.
Humanities Librarian (English, French, Italian, Classics & Philosophy)
University of Oregon
Review by River Roads
Reading Series (2018)
I first heard Emmett Wheatfall present as the keynote speaker at the 2017 Oregon Poetry Association conference
in Portland. I was impressed and invited him to present at the River Road
Reading Series (RRRS) here in Eugene. We are a group of Eugene authors (mostly
poets) sponsored (in kind) by the River Road Parks Department and with a small
grant from the Lane Literary Guild. We invite usually three authors, mostly
Eugenean, but sometimes a guest from afar. And so, Emmett drove down from
Portland to present.
His reading was inspiring, theatrical, creative, and a great pleasure to experience.
The audience was at first skeptical, mostly middle and older aged,
white, middle-class poets, not used to such a big, boisterous, bold,
and yes, black, personality. But they soon were taken in by his
honest heartfelt poetry, his enthusiasm, intelligence and charismatic
personality. Emmett's reading was a grand success.
I think Emmett could enrapture most any audience when given the
chance, but especially, to my mind, he ought to be giving presentations in our
schools. His accessible and yet intelligent style could introduce young people
to poetry in a way that might leave them with a lifelong desire to read, write
and create. In our present racially divided world, as a black poet, his
presence would inspire black youth to feel pride in their blackness,
a self-respect often denied them, I fear, while giving white youth as
well a black adult to look up to, and giving all youth, of whatever culture or
color, a role model worth following.
And so, thank you, Emmett, for coming our way. I'm glad the sun was
shining for you, although, I can't really take any credit for that!
... Yes, but I'm not so sure that all the "bigger,
blacker guys" could have so quickly "crossed over" and
reached the ever so sedate, ever so white audience we had that afternoon. You
did something special.
My very best,
by Conversations with Writers (2018)
you so much for your resoundingly successful presentation at Conversations with
Writers last month. Everyone was blown away by your wealth of knowledge, your
exuberant reading style, and your lovely poetry. Here, finally, is the
write-up I promised you.
Wheatfall is a poet who has it all, musicality, voice, passion and above all
knowledge of his subject. When Emmett presented on February
26, 2018, at Conversation with Writers our audience of dedicated
poets and writers was enthralled. His presentation was highlighted with many
examples of his own poetry that he was gracious enough to share with us.
Through exploring these poems we were encouraged to discover the way he hooks
the reader into deeper engagement with the poet’s tools of repetition,
alliteration, personification, and metaphor.
likens his honing of the craft of poetry to “The Whittling of Sticks.” He
declares, “It’s in the GRIND, ENDURANCE, and the never taking ‘NO’ for an
answer that the writer finds perfection.” After his spirited discussion, we
were presented with a writing prompt of three streams of
consciousness paragraphs. Eventually, we rearranged, condensed and
developed these paragraphs into poetry. As a group, we felt energized
and elated by our results.
the end of our two-hour session—over far too quickly for most of us—we were
happy to have been prompted along the path of self-discovery. Thank you,
Emmett, for your inspiring lessons.
of Conversations with Writers
Peterson Entertainment, LLC wishes everyone a safe and happy Martin Luther King
Over the years, we've (Emmett and I) made and collaborated on
a lot of music, events, and special occasions. This is not the kind of company
that pushes our religious views, or politics, or views on anyone.
We do support our artists in their views and help them make
statements with their music. Sometimes they are powerful and lasting
One such track is "Miles to Go" from Emmett Wheatfall.
Emmett has become a poetic force in the Pacific NW. We have collaborated
together for several recordings and made great music. This track
comes from the recording "Them Poetry Blues" for which we received a
grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council of Portland, OR. It features
the some of the greatest blues players in the NW: Peter Damman on guitar,
"King" Louis Pain on organ, Carlton Jackson on drums, and late, great
Jim Miller on Bass. As we were in the booth hearing this being
laid down, Dennis Carter (engineer) and I were both speechless as we knew we
got something special, meaningful, and timeless.
Please take a moment to reflect on Emmett's message over this very
special American holiday. Share and tag your friends if it speaks to you. Feel
free to post your thoughts below.
Peterson Entertainment Llc - January 15, 2018
Emmett Wheatfall as Langston Hughes - Dead Poets Poetry
Reading: November 4, 2017
"What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like
a raisin in the sun?"
Lately, we have all been wondering, and we talked about this
as we prepared the refreshments table in the foyer and the sound in the
auditorium. Langston Hughes himself arrived fresh out of the Harlem
Renaissance, and seeing that he was early, sat down at the grand piano and
tuned up the room.
The event was the Silverton Poetry Association's 27th Dead
Poets Reading. The tradition is that the reader dresses and speaks as the
dearly departed poet did in life, and for this couple of hours he or she is that
poet. And so in the contemplative space designed by Alvar Aalto in the
Mount Angel Abbey Library, Emmett Wheatfall shook the hands of poets Alejandra
Pizarnik and Matsuo Bashō and introduced himself as "Langston Hughes,
just off the train".
On stage, the poet pulled us into the mostly rocky and sometimes
fabulous life he lived. The poetry made the distance from 1930s America
And who are you that draws your veil across the
I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
The booming blues in his voice engaged and moved us, right down to
that question, nearly whispered: "Or does it explode?"
Review by Vere McCarty
Silverton Poetry Association
OPA Conference: October 13th, 2017 at University Place Hotel,
Emmett Wheatfall keynote address: Can Poets Change the World?
It was a magical start to our cherished annual conference in a
time when many people feel hopeless and helpless, Emmett reminded us of our
power. As poets, he told us, we possess the ability to connect with others, to
transfer meaning, to incite, inspire, and reassure. Communication, after all,
is what poetry is about. Communication comes from the same root as a
community. In these times, a community is the only real protection we
have: Emmett's words, and his vibrant presence coached us
all to remember what we already know: how to communicate, how to make contact,
and why it matters.
Conference attendees were asked to rank events they attended from 1
(unsatisfactory) to 5 (highly satisfactory). Emmett Wheatfall's keynote
address scored an average of 4.7 out of 5. In workshops throughout the weekend,
I heard people say: "Since Emmett Wheatfall tells us poets can change the
world..." a testament to the lasting effect of his words on our
conference. Let's hope these words remain with us all, as we go on about our
business of life and poetry.
Tiel Aisha Ansari
Oregon Poetry Association
WELCOME HOME (2017)
As promised, I will now give you my impressions of "Welcome Home"
Conceptually, this is a cohesive work. Following the young man's life after his
service in the Korean War sets a fitting tableau for the pieces included, and I
feel you set the stage nicely. One gets a clear picture of the boy-turned-man
The recurring narrative helps to tie the pieces together well. I highly enjoyed
"Cleophus" and found him to be a character I wish I knew more
about--perhaps he could be fleshed out more fully in a future piece.
(His vibe somewhat reminded me of Jim Croce's "Bad Bad, Leroy
Brown"--a real scoundrel). I wish there had been a bit more conflict in
his interaction with our protagonist, but it also showed that the young
ex-military man was not to be trifled with by a seedy never-do-well like
"Mr. Piano Man" is a fun turn that paints a picture of the young man
looking to impress Dara Denard. The developing romance keeps an appropriate
pace within the time period, which I found to be a refreshing change
from the slap-dash relationships that are portrayed in movies and TV shows
these days. (romance works best in low-gear).
I felt that the drama of Dara's sudden death in childbirth seemed a bit
rushed--there wasn't much prelude and it was
basically dropped in our laps. It also seemed that our hero
lacked a sort of rage and denial that one would expect from a person in that
situation (i.e. there should have been the 5-Step progression typical when
dealing with death: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance).
I appreciate the nods you gave not only to Pablo Neruda but to your
own works in "To the Memories"--a nice touch for fans of your work.
"Brown People Were Here" was a fun in conclusion--I have to give
kudos to the pianist James Blackburn for this cut, as well as his other work. I
really liked how he took the innate syncopation of "I Dream at Night"
and turned it into a musical phrase to match.
All in all, this definitely one of your best works. Its theme is solid and
comprehensive, taking the listener on a personal journey in the young man's
I must also mention the progression I've seen your "brand" as an artist.
The new logo gives you that "professional" feel, and I hope you'll
continue to include it in your future works.
It has been my pleasure to both assist and read/hear your poetry over the
years. I hope my input and opinions have been helpful to you. I recognize in
you the true soul of a poet, and I'm looking forward to many more
years of experiencing the works you shall produce.
Lofton A. Emenari
Bro Emmett, I cannot begin to tell you how much this CD has affected me.
Brother, the opening poem "Welcome Home" had me crying like a baby!!!
I was overwhelmed with emotion.
Lofton A. Emenari
WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago
Hi Emmett, I wanted to share with you the response I've [been] getting from the
KHMD interview--ALL good! And, I 'm surprised at how many people heard it!...
The most common comment [about Welcome Home] was how interesting and new
this "genre" is! I totally agree! I think you could be a pioneer,
James (Jim) Blackburn
Pianist and Composer
THEM POETRY BLUES (2013)
Peterson Entertainment – (No#)
Emmett Wheatfall is a published poet from Portland, Oregon, with
five books of poetry in print. This is his fourth CD and the third
collaboration with producer/saxophonist Noah Peterson in putting a
selection of Wheatfall’s poems to music.
As the title suggests, the backing has a touch of the blues
this time out, albeit a suave and sophisticated blues with
Peterson’s sax and Nathan Olsen’s piano to the fore on most tracks.
For the most part, Wheatfall’s vocalizing is more akin to recital
than a song, and while comparisons can be made to Omar Sharif, Oscar
Brown Jr., Mose Allison and Amiri Baraka and the dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson,
listening to this disc is a distinctive experience. Thematically, the material
ranges from Black Eyed Peas to Sunday Morning to Big
Women to what used to be called “protest songs” to, of course, poems of
love and loss. Barbara Harris adds vocal support to one track, and pianist
Janice Scroggins, who died this May at age 58, is showcased on Mr. Janice
Scroggins & Her 88 Keys. Elsewhere, the band is rounded out by
guitarist Peter Dammann, organist Lous Pain, the late bassist James Miller and
drummer Carlton Jackson, who along with Peterson and Olsen, sound equally at
ease with the seductive cress of Come Away with
Me and the Tramp-inspired riff that drives That’s What I’m Gonna
What really makes this album special, though, is that Wheatfall
tells stories that are both personal and local, so that the listener gets to
know something about the artist and his world. In that respect, it recalls the
work of earlier blues poets such as Sleepy John Estes and Lightning Hopkins,
and stand in welcome contrast to the usual blues clichés.
Page 56 Living Blues August 2013 Issue 232 Vol. 45, #4
THEM POETRY BLUES (2013)
Renown poet, Emmett Wheatfall lives in Portland (Oregon).
In addition to 4 publications, he performs his poetry on stage,
records albums to feature his work. The title of his most recent CD is
pleasantly misleading. One will discover the musical landscape to be
a lot closer to jazz than blues. The musicians are perfect, from the pianist to
the saxophonist without forgetting the guitarist. Wheatfall’s baritone timber
matches very well his writing even when he weaves in some touches of humor
(That’s What I’m Gonna Do, Black Eyed Peas, and Big Women, the only real blues
tunes with the piece titled eponyme). As one would expect of poetry, the author
recites more often than he sings. This creates a sensation of repetition on top
of slower beats despite a remarkable lyrical content: Miles to Go talks about
civic duties, Alfie touches on the topic of Serendipity, Mississippi Mixed Girl
deals with cross-racial relationships, all, topics that Mighty Mo
Rodgers would enjoy, read our article on page 16…On the edge of our spectrum,
this is a piece of work essentially for lovers of beautiful lyrical content
painted on the canvas of black music. DANIEL LÉON (Translated
by PARFAIT BASSALÉ)
Poète reconnu, Emmett
Wheatfall vit à Portland (Oregon).
Outre quatre recueils publiés, il se produit
sur scène et enregistre des disques pour des lectures de ses œuvres. Le titre
du présent CD s’avère toutefois trompeur car l’environnement musical est bien
plus proche du jazz que du blues. Les musiciens sont excellents, du pianiste au
saxophoniste en passant par le guitariste, alors que la voix de baryton de
Wheatfall s’adapte bien à ses écrits même quand ils se teintent d’humour
(That’s why I’m gonna do, Black eyed peas et Big woman, seul véritable blues
avec le titre éponyme). Mais, versification propre à la poésie oblige, l’auteur
récite plus souvent qu’il ne chante, ce qui crée une sensation de répétition
sur des tempos lents malgré des textes souvent remarquables : Miles to go sur
les droits civiques, Alfie sur la sérendipité, Mississippi mixed girl sur le
métissage, des thèmes qui plairaient à Mighty Mo Rodgers, lire notre article
page 16... Un peu en marge de notre spectre, essentiellement pour amateurs de
beaux textes sur fond de musiques noires. DANIEL LÉON
Oregon Music News (OMN)
On this recording Emmett Wheatfall’s poetry is generally
presented as spoken word vocals, using many rhetorical and performance
characteristics of traditional black preaching, backed by a stellar blues band.
He occasionally sings and is joined on several numbers by vocalist Barbara
Harris. Mr. Wheatfall has recorded several albums, and I found “Them Poetry
Blues” to be his most enjoyable and interesting so far.
He's back and this time the music is better than ever. Emmett
Wheatfall has scored once again with tremendous support from producer Noah
Peterson providing an all-star blues cast of Pacific NW musicians: Peter
Dammann, James Miller, Nathan Olsen, Janice Scroggins, Louis Pain, Carlton
Jackson and Noah Peterson.
Making the leap from jazz to poetry the newest lyrical poetry release from Emmett,
"Them Poetry Blues" features stellar compositions, great performances
and down-home good vibes for everyone to enjoy.
- Music Industry News Network (mi2n)
Music Industry News Network (mi2n)
Just received a new release by a guy out of Portland, Oregon named
Emmett Wheatfall. He's a poet and the CD is spoken word backed by music. It's
called "Them Poetry Blues." Some interesting stuff on this new
release including a tribute to 1960's civil rights leaders called "Miles
To Go." One cut is called "Big Women" (As in, "I like big
- Jazz Notes, SDPB Radio South Dakota
Loften Emenari, WPHK 88.5 FM (Chicago)
Emmett Wheatfall is a “Blues Poet” of the first order. His brand
new CD release “Them Poetry Blues” (Peterson Entertainment) speaks the blues
from beginning to end. Starting with the plaintive acknowledgement of our
ancestors and life “Never Forget” to the soulful righteousness of “Sunday
Morning” to the raw raucous “Big Women” (which should become an instant blues
hit) Wheatfall backed by an in synch rhythm section (of
keys, bass and drums) is an in the tradition of those big city
sophisticated moaners yet nails the educated mannerisms of academia. A journey
in blues, jazz, r&b and above all a tasted of life in today’s
- Loften Emenari, WPHK 88.5 FM (Chicago)
Nice original tunes that are easy to listen to. Good variety of
mood. I like the instrument combination.
- Charlie Perkinson, Jazz Music Director, WVTF Radio (Virginia)
Great musicianship mixed with entertaining lyrics/poems, sometimes
humorous, sometimes deep and personal, always ear-catching."
- Charles Husson, Operations Director – Hawaii Public
The late Jim Miller, a fine bassist, had recommended me for a
spoken word project produced by saxophonist Noah Peterson, accompanying a poet
named Emmett Wheatfall. When I arrived at the recording studio, the first track
I was asked to play on had been recorded the day before; Emmett wanted me to
overdub organ on it. When I head the track, I was concerned: it was
an extremely powerful, gospel-soaked piece, and I had brought my 34-lb Nord
organ—not a Hammond B-3. But the track was finished in no time and Emmett was
very pleased, later posting on Facebook, “The magic on this track is the
MASTERFUL work of Louis Pain on the Hammond B-3 Organ.” I guess I fooled him!
But seriously: The magic on this track is Emmett Wheatfall; the rest of us
(Nathan Olsen, Carlton Jackson, & Jim Miller) just hopped aboard his
-Louis Pain, (aka King Louie) Hammond B-3 Organist – Album:
Them Poetry Blues (2013)
Email letter addressed to Noah Peterson
of Peterson Entertainment LLC.
I am the publisher of Wine and Jazz magazine. For many years I have enjoyed
poetry. Your company sent me Emmett Wheatfall’s CD “When I Was Young”
earlier this year. It is a very unique record that I like tremendously. Because
of this, I featured this record in my just-released
November (2010) issue of Wine and Jazz magazine as a pairing with a
wine. If you would like a few copies of Wine and Jazz magazine, please advise
where to send.
I am not kidding when I say I tremendously like “When I Was
Young.” I thought perhaps you would mail another CD to one of my writers who
resides in the state of Washington, Baldwin “Smitty” Smith. Smitty wrote the
cover interview of Esperanza Spalding in my November magazine. If so, please
advise and I will email you his mailing address. Thank you,
- Mike Nordskog, Publisher Wine and Jazz
Emmett Wheatfall has the unusual distinction
of performing poetry at Jimmy Mak’s, a club known for bringing in top-notch
jazz musicians – not poets. His appearance with this collection of musicians
proves that the distinction may be irrelevant. He speaks with the phrasing
similar to a saxophone player, savoring each note and syllable. His poetry
explores the cultural themes of separation and community relationships...
- Oregon Music News
Emmett Wheatfall, Jay Stapleton
WORD] Portland's own Emmett Wheatfall has quite a voice—rich and deep,
half-jiving and half-poetic, fatherly and stern—and that voice is the focus of
his new disc When I Was Young.
Sometimes he's touching ("When I Was Young"), sometimes funny
("Dance With Me," where he goes South of the Border...geographically
and, if Wheatfall's plotting works out, perhaps sexually) and sometimes
street-smart (the entirely un-P.C. "I Know You Tough and All That").
It's unpretentious street poetry, sometimes acapella and sometimes
backed by Andre St. James and his trio. Tonight's CD release is a split with
Jay Stapleton's group, which releases its funky organ-and-guitar-fueled debut,
Upshot, tonight. CASEY JARMAN. 8 pm. Jimmy Mak's, 221 NW 10th Ave.,
295-6542. $10. All ages. Map
- Willamette Week (Online Periodical wweek.com)
Hello, Ivories Fans. And especially hi to the newcomers--many
first-time Ivories visitors, especially from Emmett Wheatfall's Poetry/Blues
event, with the Noah Peterson Quartet. What a night! This guy Emmett, he
couldn't wait to get to the stage to start the poem--but came from the far end
of the bar, wandering amongst the tables, his voice resonating clearly to all
corners of the room. Somewhere in between a speech and a song, but with
rhyming. He brings with him a feeling of authentic life experience, a charisma
reminiscent of something between Louis Armstrong and Martin Luther King Jr. And
he didn't sing a note. But Noah's band provided the bluesy and funky background,
never overpowering, but oh so potent! We're getting them back in the spring.
- Jim Templeton, Ivories Jazz Lounge and
Restaurant Portland, Oregon
I Loved You Once, Emmett Wheatfall
In all honesty, I'm not usually a fan of poetry read to jazz. It either comes
off as hackneyed beat poetry or New Age-y treacle. But this disc by Portland
poet Wheatfall has captured my attention. His deep voice is expressive and
powerful, and his delivery is just plain cool. Using pianist Ramsey Embick as a
backdrop for his phrasing, Wheatfall recites in styles ranging from walking
swing ("The Wild Woods") to gospel-ish preaching ("I Understand
You") to Latin ballads. All the while, his earnest delivery keeps things
interesting and his words engaging. Embick is a perfect choice, due to his
versatility and expert playing. Saxophonist Noah Peterson provides the backing
on a couple of tunes, adding an urban honk to Wheatfall's punchy poetry. The
one that goes nearly over the sappy line is "I Loved You Once," with
both Embick and Peterson playing soft and pretty behind a love poem. Luckily,
Wheatfall's words are smart enough to keep metaphors above the basal love
meanings. I wish they had included the poetry in the sparse liner notes, but
for fans of poetry and jazz, this is one of the better combos I've heard.
2011, Peterson Entertainment, 18 minutes
- Jazz Society of Oregon, (Kyle O'Brien)
Emmett Wheatfall's "I Too Am a Slave" is a poem
crafted from the depths of despair, from the discovery that he shared a last
name with an ancestor's slave-master... and yet within that despair are sown
the seeds of redemption. An emotional tour-de-force that evokes Walt Whitman
and Langston Hughes, that marks - to my mind - the emergence of a new, unique
and authentic voice.
- Samuel Peralta, An Award Winning Canadian Poet
May 17, 2011
An Open Letter from BaseRoots Theatre Company
...My Soul Grown Deep celebrates the breathing heart within these poems.
We want to open them up, play, delve, re-envision and put them back together
again. We rejoice that these poems reveal specific aspects of humanity in order
to communicate and commiserate with all humanity. By the way, Emmett,
we're closing with "Change". Ladies and Gentlemen, My Soul Grown
Deep. See you there.
- Bobby Bermea, Artistic Director BaseRoots Theatre Company
As a teacher, I read and teach English poetry
and appreciate it but my favorite poetry mirrors my
experiences. Lastly, I really like Emmett Wheatfall’s poetry. When one thinks of his or
favorite poets, it is natural to reflect upon persons whom one discovers in
textbooks; but I am drawn to Wheatfall’s work. Of the modern-day poets,
he is among my favorite and I model some of my poetry after his work.
I want to capture the essence of a moment in word. Wheatfall is a master
at making the mundane loving and unforgettable. He is also a tireless
student of poetry. It is because of him that I want to devote more time
to writing in poetic form.
- Michelle Hudson, Team Poetry Interview February 14, 2011
Book Reviews for "We Think We Know"
Emmett Wheatfall’s philosophical curiosity reflects the openness of a true
seeker. Unquestionably rooted in the tangible, his poems invite us to consider
the meaning hidden in everyday objects and occurrences. His sense of wonder
encourages us to take another look at the world around us, to wander further
into the mystery.
The natural world becomes the stage upon which this universal drama plays out.
With Emmett’s guidance, we may rediscover our place among the “butterfly and marigold.”
Though the path can seem beset by “death and dying and sorrow,” with hope, the
poet’s humble reminders will show us the way home.
- Christopher Luna, Poet, author, and editor
I enjoy reading your poetry. I like your introspective
nature. I like that you employ a variety of styles, not always the same
thing. I like that you're (apparently) unafraid to try a different
approach. I appreciate your voice, both figuratively and
literally. Your viewpoints show me another side of the world, one strange
yet familiar. You tackle tough, sometimes uncomfortable topics, seeking
to get to the truth of the matter - or at least your truth of it.
I admire your righteous passions as well as the examinations of your more
self-indulgent inclinations. I can easily imagine you working on your
poems, rearranging words, striking out one word for the sake of a better one.
You see the beauty around you as well as the beauty of words, and they
meld together richly in your verse. I like to think that we are much the same,
you and I, but that we are also quite different. We love life,
despite it's many flaws. And that's just how I am, Emmett.
When I find something I like, I stick with it. :)
- Eric Alder, A Poetry Fan
Thank you so much for your beautiful poetry Sat. night. It was
amazing being behind you at the soundboard and seeing the faces of all those
people in the room as they responded to your words. Was a moving experience.
One that will be on the minds of many folks for many moons to come…You made the
night extra meaningful. With gratitude,
- Chance Wooley, Relay for Life American Cancer Society
If you are a lover of good original poetry, of the
masterful use of language and imagery, then I suggest you get to
know emmett wheatfall for yourself. His writing is musical,
spiritual, classic and yet always contemporary. Be it romantic or
philosophical, humorous or reminiscent, the words roll off your tongue and the
themes will make you smile and nod your head in agreement. His poetic voice is
a seamless bridge from “back in the day” to the day after tomorrow and his
words could only have been written by a man who has lived.
- Steven M Grant, Poet
emmett wheatfall’s talent brings out a perfect
combination of anger, tears and joy. His poetry stirs up every
emotion and encourages us to dig deep into our own thoughts and ideas about
love, life and humanity.
- Becky Due, Author
“I write to appease the creative hunger raging in my
soul.” –emmett wheatfall
"A poem written by me must stand on its own merit. If not, let it fall and
I will erect another one until it stands, then another, and
another..." –emmett wheatfall
“It's way too late in life for me to master the mastery of the great poets who
precede me; therefore, I must unmask my own.” –emmett wheatfall