Known for his powerful readings and unusually warm and compassionate voice, Charles Coe's poems speak to the heart and mind as well as the ear. Combining subjects as diverse as Afro-American history, myth, jazz, and family as well as surprising observations of those unexpected moments of joy to be found in a work-a-day inner city life, Coe offers us poems as personal as the tale of a sister who opened his life to literature and closed her own with dope; as quietly momentous as the story of Rosa Parks. Here are poems for Ella Fitzgerald and Charlie Mingus alongside a haunting homage to the 'guests' of a battered women's shelter. Above all, Coe's poems touch upon what is essential in us all and speak of life as a gift that is far from perfect but all we have.
"Deep, wise and beautiful ... Charles Coe gives poetry
readers many fine examples of an old, worthy craft. A volume for the permanent
Small Press Review, May-June, 1999
"Charles Coe's poems move and touch people. His voice
is direct, honest, never forced or false in its note of intelligent humane awareness. His
subjects are ones that involve the audience and attract the reader, things we want to read
about and to which he brings his unique conversational but powerful voice. We hear and
"Charles Coe's poems are warm and robust, well
constructed and considered. In all of them you feel an insistent and pervasive humanity,
and news from the singing and stubborn heart. Coe's poems contain quirky angles of
observation, painful splinters of truth, insightful humor, and the salt and sweetness of
daily life lived by a compassionate and passionate Black poet-man moving deftly through
the absurdities of American life."
Charles Coe is the winner of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Poetry Fellowship. A jazz and popular vocalist, he was born in Indianapolis, lives in the Boston area and travels widely to perform and record his work.