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Reviews & Acclaim for Round Earth, Open Sky:
Part mystical vision, part cosmic joke, Round Earth, Open Sky is Kirpal Gordon at the top of his game, by turns lyrical and ironic, magical and subversive, moving past the vanishing point where Jack Kerouac meets Carlos Castaneda. Gordon is a consummate postmodern trickster, wanting nothing more than “to stir a little gray into the either/or, black-and-white world,” leading us to laugh at what we think we know, and to humble ourselves to a world that will always be much larger than we can imagine.
—Stephen-Paul Martin, author, Changing the Subject
In Round Earth, Open Sky, Kirpal Gordon flirts with the borders of fantasy and science fiction to create a novel whose heightened reality entertains and illuminates simultaneously. When Sky Man, its protagonist, literally falls to earth from a plane of existence beyond it, Moses becomes the first of many colorful and complex characters to try to determine what he is and whether his true nature lies in the heavens, the earth, or both. The path to the answer untangles many tangled relationships, past and present, in a highly entertaining journey that will keep your eyes glued to the page and your fingers eager to turn it.
—Vernon Frazer, author, Improvisations
In the middle of nowhere, a photographer gives a lift to a mysterious stranger and finds himself the passenger on a surprising, and sometimes sinister, journey toward discovery and self-revelation that carries them both through the perils of obscure Native American tribal rites to the portals of metempsychosis and the magical reality behind “reality” which erases past and present and, at the same time, recreates them. In Round Earth, Open Sky Kirpal Gordon unrolls a map that irresistibly lures its characters, and the reader, toward a spectacular life- and death-transforming climax.
—Eric Basso, author, The Golem Triptych
Regarding Kirpal Gordon’s Lyrical Miracle performances with his band:
His work swings with around-the-corner wit, but also with real gravitas, with a ludicrous tragic craziness that’s at once wild and frighteningly familiar. He chooses tunes that are sweet and heartfelt but also elegant and formally graceful—his voice levitating rich and smooth and right on the rhythm. I’ve never heard the marriage of music and the spoken word done with greater harmony.
—Bill Seaton, director, Poetry on the Loose
A poet with unstoppable chops, Kirpal Gordon is a spewer of jewels with the baddest ear in the hemisphere and an unbelievably well-hung mother tongue…. His voice is wed to the energy of a singly hearted ensemble.
—Mikhail Horowitz, The Blues of the Birth
Hearing Gordon’s poetry with his jazz band at Sweet Rhythm is like seeing Salvador Dali’s paintings: he’s a shape shifter of the first order.
—Lara Pellegrinelli, National Public Radio
Precise of word and rhyme and ready of wit, his pairing poems with pearls of jazz and his erudition in world lit (licks from Eliot, Yeats and the Upanishads flit by like Dexter Gordon’s quotes) add further dimensions to his verbal inventions; at poetic peak he’s internally rhyming, eternally scheming, keeping this hot band dancing on the point of Cleopatra’s needle.
—Fred Boucher, All About Jazz
Having graced our stage many times with his spoken word collaborations, we call Kirpal Gordon our poet laureate at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.
—Todd Barkin, proprietor, Dizzy’s, Jazz at Lincoln Center
If you think the notion of mixing jazz and poetry is hopelessly old-fashioned, let his swinging scansion and vivid imagery relieve you of that perception. Gordon swings.
—Steve Smith, Time Out New York
Lotsa people go at it, but it’s Kirpal G who IS it—the Real Deal, the Chilly Willy, the Absolute Rootin’ Tootin’est Poet Qua Non—like the rain out of the blue. When my life is through and the angels ask me to recall the thrill of them all, I will tell them I remember Kirpal!
—Bob Holman, proprietor, Bowery Poetry Club
Reviews & Acclaim for Speak Spake Spoke:
Gordon’s language is the CD’s prime mover; his deeply swinging rhythms, circular breathing of long, internally rhymed lines, and rapid-fire concatenations of images are inherently musical: “Growing up against the rutty grain, dirty dishwater in gray veins, the litter’s puny runt blew a gutter grunt, knew luck’s bittersweet ball was gettin’ born at all, head poppin’ out of mommy’s ju-ju shrine as parade bands walked on the wah wah peddlin’ a salty second line: all humankind shall be metal-twined until the key of sea shall free them.” That’s not about music, it is music, but what frees it is Gordon’s voice, wed to the ensemble.
—Mikhail Horowitz, Woodstock Times
The only lyricist I know who can recite free verse so that the bridge of the tune has relevance to his recitation, Kirpal Gordon differs from most jazz poetry in two unique and wonderful ways: his ear is tuned to the jazz vocal tradition and his musicians interpret a repertoire that incorporates bop, swing, pop and classical standards with a musical freshness that corresponds to the vigor of his language.
—Vernon Frazer, Soundzine
The ensemble weaves deftly around and through Gordon’s syncopated phrases, matching sound with sense. In Speak-Spake-Spoke Gordon, who always has an eye on the cutting edge, turns his gaze toward the roots and history of jazz as he creates a fusion unique in the barely-charted terrain of jazz poetry.
—Steve Elmer, Big Bridge
Reviews & Acclaim for Go Ride the Music:
From the moment you sit yourself down beside Ghost, who is behind the wheel of an infinitely blue Dodge on the outskirts of Baltimore, you know you’re in for a fabulous journey where all the exotic songbirds will sing and the gods of every chakra will chime in. From its tongue down to its toes Go Ride the Music lets it fly. Here is Kirpal Gordon, spiritual visionary and sensual word master, at his best, propelling us like Ornette Coleman beyond our conventional orbits through double doors of mundane existence to new and compelling worlds. Come ride these words-it’ll be the holiest funkiest ride of your life, a full barreled open throated six cylinder love supreme.
—George Wallace, editor, PoetryBay
Go Ride the Music is language at its finest, a labor of heart and soul from a master word slinger who Huck Finns his way down a Mississippi of song, of jazz, folk and blues. It’s the kind of give and take improv that can only come with discipline, skill, deep knowledge and years of patient hard work.
—Michael Adams, author of Steel Valley
Gordon’s delivery, especially in “Ganga Runs the Voodoo Down,” is extraordinarily successful in that it presents you with the extra-extra summit of eroticism: very imageful, very actual, very happening-at-that-moment but without the slightest hint of pornography.
—Barbara Wright, translator of French literature
Go Ride the Music is utterly original. I love the language-which dances, sings and delves deeply into both visionary Buddhism and contra-Buddhist satire, riding the music of a yin/yang beat-and dig the characters, presented inside-out. Praise to Kirpal Gordon for creating such a bluesy, true and deliciously rueful novel, a sweet, hip, jazzy pas de deux.
—Howard Mandel, author of Future Jazz and Miles Ornette Cecil
Reviews & Acclaim for New York at Twilight:
As marvelous a ‘tearing apart [of] the boxed-in world’ as it gets. Detailing the ordinary mash-up of Gotham as if one could bomb the dead back to life, these 13 tales—with a nod to Salinger’s depictions of youth alienation and innocence, but also echoing traditions out of Kerouac, Burroughs, Pound, Whitman, and Poe—are each tied together by strangely healing moments of sacred awareness as his parade of erotic, confused, and consciousness-seeking characters search for the luminous promise of their being. Like some ‘forbidden chapter of the American Way Gone Wrong,’ New York at Twilight turns our ‘spinal dials soaked in terror’ of becoming a ghost in one’s own skin so that we may see ‘the abandoned road map of each other’s face for directions forward.’
—Jim Cohn, Director of the Museum of American Poetics
While somehow becoming everything from a patently uninnocent Catholic girl busting out of All in the Family Queens to a variously privileged sex addict ordering in from his luxury Manhattan loft, Kirpal Gordon maps a Vedic history of New York that forever changes the topography-not to mention your view of the Empire State Building. Serving language too beautiful for words, Gordon reminds us why we read and write. If you’re wondering where the beat has gone, it’s here, now, in this groundbreaking collection.
—Carrie Schneider, author of American Yoga
The greatest compliment a reader can give an author is the wish that the story would never end which is what I continuously experienced while reading New York at Twilight. Each tale could have morphed into a novel or a major feature film. Gordon skillfully crafts scrumptious muffalettas of luminosity and economy that one can’t help but crave more. His literary riffs, mesmerizing metaphors and uncanny plot twists remind me of the solos of heavyweight jazzmen like Coltrane or Rollins, blowing well-ruminated ideas that seem to flow spontaneously in the moment of creation from the primeval fun house of his mind.
—John Kruth, author of Rhapsody in Black: A Biography of Roy Orbison