Reading for Summer and Beyond

Bessie Smith, Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters” By Geraldine Mccullough

The glorious Bessie Smith

The glorious Bessie Smith

From The Team

Bessie Smith, By Jackie Kay
Absolute Press, 1997

“This outline of Bessie, her raucous on-the-road relationships, professionalism and death and how it all influenced Jackie’s character and work, weaves Bessie’s songs explicitly with Jackie’s poems, and Bessie’s lesbian life implicitly with Jackie’s. A passionate, personal, imaginative insight in to Bessie’s art.” Ruth Padel, Daily Mail

Such a stunning biographical treatment. Lesbian poet/writer Jackie Kay discovered Smith when she was just a girl in Scotland. Yet, the impression the legendary blues singer made on the poet would continue to resonate when she became a woman.

“Bessie Smith” by Helen Thomas

Kay gives us a glimpse of her life as she and her childhood friend listened and mused over Bessie and her music. For Kay, growing up in a primarily white geography; Bessie represented a vital connection to Kay’s identity as a Black woman. Interspersed throughout the text is Kay’s beautiful and evocative poetry, as she excavates the sexual and racial geography of the segregated south – in this intuitively researched exploration of a blueswoman’s life.

Album Cover “Any Woman’s Blues”

Bessie Smith Sheet Music

Bessie Smith Sheet Music

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