EXCERPT FROM THE INTRODUCTION OF SONGS IN BLUE NEGRITUDE
"Within the muscularity of Garrett’s language, his desire to pay homage to his heroes and elders, and his experiments with form, a new voice emerges. What we find is a voice that will save poetry from extinction. In a world in which people purport to not read poetry because they cannot connect to it, here’s a language that can be understood without losing the lyricism that’s so hard earned among the initiated. As he continues to exhort in his “james brown kwansaba,” his poems call for us to continue “seeing life in fast-paced musical scales/ that make people want to shuffle on/ decks with sweat dropped on the up-beats.” Let’s read on but let’s not forget to dance."
- A. Van Jordan, author of Quantum Lyrics
“Poetry should, above all things, remain accessible. Van Garrett allows
readers total access to all the emotion behind his vivid imagery and vital
- Ellen Hopkins, author of CRANK
"Some play the dozens, some play the sevens. Van G. Garrett navigates the urban landscape with poems that sound like jazz riffs dancing on paper. Van's horn is filled with the kwansabas, last heard coming from the big band directed by Eugene Redmond. Many of the poems in Songs in Blue Negritude are short and compact. Easy luggage for the poetry lover on the move."
- E. Ethelbert Miller, author of How We Sleep On The Nights We Don’t Make Love
"In Songs in Blue Negritude, Van G. Garrett spins tales of curses and jazz, of Rosa Parks and subways in his own language: a vernacular paying homage to our poetic elders but fertilized by hip hop culture. Jayne Cortez, Mos Def, Lorenzo Thomas, and Jay Wright are all musically invoked in these poems and through Garrett’s stereophonics of language and image, they coexist gracefully. These poems are challenges and concordance. These poems announce that Garrett has listened and is ready to rumble."
- Adrian Matejka, author of The Devil’s Garden
"Van G. Garrett has established himself as a strong new voice rooted in the soul of the South. His poems sing like a smooth and sensual breeze blowing "a song a soul a something worth crying about." Sometimes jubilant, sometimes blue, always honest."
- Amalia L. Ortiz, HBO’s Def Poetry