by George Drew
978-1-948692-34-2 paper 18.95
978-1-948692-35-9 ebook 9.99
6×9, 144 pp.
Often it is said of contemporary music that it’s the soundtrack of our lives. If so, Drumming Armageddon is a poetic rendering of that soundtrack: Rock, Country, Jazz, Pop, Folk, The Blues—they’re the genres comprising it, and they all are present in this collection. The poems pay homage to the artists—Dylan, Clapton, Lennon, Crow, The Beatles, Elvis—and track the poet’s personal musical biography: his experiences and memories the music both relates to and marks. The poems, like the music, have plenty of swagger. Finally, though, they remind us that, at their best, poetry is music, music poetry.
George Drew is the author of Fancy’s Orphan (Tiger Bark Press, 2017), The View from Jackass Hill, 2010 winner of the X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize, Texas Review Press, which also published his Down & Dirty (2015) and his New & Selected, Pastoral Habits (2016), winner of the Adirondack Literary Award for Best Poetry Book, and a finalist for the Lascaux Review’s Poetry Book Prize.
Studio drummers use the phrase “In the Pocket” when they want to talk about being in that sweet spot right on the beat and tucked straight away into a song. That is exactly where you’ll find George Drew’s voice in the poems of Drumming Armageddon. Drew spins his turntable through the history of electric music from rock-n-roll icons like Chuck Berry, Elvis, the Beatles, and The Rolling Stones, to blues giants like Stevie Ray Vaughn. The poems render these characters much better than any history book could, and what’s even more impressive, the lines ride the melodies of the music in and out of personal narratives deftly telling family stories and offering tributes to friends who’ve passed away. This book rocks like a greatest hits album, and this poet turns in a performance as memorable as any front man could.
—Jack B. Bedell, Poet Laureate, State of Louisiana, 2017-2019
Surely all good poets, especially the ones born in Mississippi, think of their poetry as a sort of blues. George Drew’s Drumming Armageddon is, without question, not merely a celebration of the blues, but the blues in fact. Oh, he channels such heavyweights as Chuck Berry, Gladys Knight, Elvis, Jerry Lee, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Aretha, Roy Orbison and so on, but Drew knows the blues are love, how you somehow keep going and keep caring in spite of a world that seems always just a breath away from Armageddon, a terrible world of anger and pain and death. Aptly, he leaves us with Charlie Parker blowing his sax on a lonely country road, playing to a cow. He leaves us wrung out and worn out and whole, putting our envies and sins aside for a little while and saying, Lord have mercy, that boy can sing.
—Jack Butler, Author of Broken Hallelujah