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Book details
  • Genre:POETRY
  • SubGenre:American / General
  • Language:English
  • Pages:134
  • Format:Paperback
  • Paperback ISBN:9781631925481

Live Verse

A Tilted View of Humanity's Disorderly Conduct

by Ellen Griffith

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LIVE VERSE is fast-moving underdog poetry that has its own view of humanity’s disorderly conduct as it deals with love and politics, music and baseball, hard times and corporate greed. For the reader who is trying to make sense of mankind’s twenty-first century mess and doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry, LIVE VERSE is here to help.


LIVE VERSE is conversational, down-to-earth poetry with a bemused view of the world from the bottom looking up. It reflects the author’s life as an often-out-of work traveling musician whose resume of odd jobs is way past colorful. For music lovers the bonus is a first-hand account of the boisterous journey of American popular music from ragtime to rap. Live Verse comes from America’s bars, ballparks and truck stops. From a country music bar in Anchorage, Alaska and from a jazz joint on Frenchmen Street in New Orleans. It comes from an all-night diner in Bakersfield where the juke box is playing Merle Haggard’s “The Bottle Let Me Down.” It comes from Dodger Stadium on the day that every baseball player wears number 42 to honor Jackie Robinson. It comes from a bus depot in Cincinnati where a mute TV shows the American president speaking in front of two American flags while a few distracted travelers sit staring at the screen and wonder if any of it matters. It comes from every union hall that celebrates the American wage slave who creates our prosperity but is still fighting for a fair share of it. It comes from the Capitol steps in Washington, D.C., where some noisy demonstrators brave  snow flurries to wave signs declaring that capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class and that Wall Street is a high crime area. At the same time, on the floor of the Senate, a senator from an oil patch state shows off a snow ball and declares global warming to be a hoax. A keen observer of political absurdities, the author claims that “politics has gone from bad to verse” and goes on to prove it. For the reader who is trying to make sense of mankind’s twenty-first century mess and doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry, LIVE VERSE is here to help.

About the author

Ellen Griffith started at the bottom playing guitar in a skid row bar and ended up at the bottom as a starving songwriter. And much of what happened in between can be found in this collection of LIVE VERSE and Leftover Prose. She blew off higher education to follow her heart as an often-out-of-work traveling musician. Lack of full employment in her chosen field led to a colorful resume of incidental jobs. She discovered that “blue collar” actually means dirty-boots jobs, rubber-gloves jobs, mop-and-broom jobs and a lot worse. She worked as a car hop, dog washer, cab driver, ranch hand and warehouse clerk, to name a few, before she finally learned to type so she could sit down. Typing led to a graphic artist job, and when a musician friend became entertainment editor at the Santa Monica Outlook, she moonlighted for ten years covering the music beat for the Outlook. In 2005 she produced an album, Songwriters Choice, containing 17 original songs with a hand-picked studio band known as the Demonstrators. She fell in love with rhymed verse as a child (don’t we all?) but in high school literature class, she learned that serious poetry doesn’t rhyme anymore, and it seemed to be intentionally abstract and intimidating. And what’s worse, it was a homework assignment. She remembers that it took an emergency trip to the library to reassure her that much glorious rhymed verse exists from an earlier time when poetry was widely popular and a lot more fun. LIVE VERSE won’t bring back the 1870’s, but it won’t be a homework assignment, either.

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