My Name Is New Orleans: 40 Years of Poetry and Other Jazz
by Arthur Pfister aka Professor Arturo
My Name Is New Orleans: 40 Years of Poetry and Other Jazz, Amazon Prime Paperback and CD
This is the collected life’s work of New Orleans jazz poet Arthur Pfister who performs under the name Professor Arturo. The book includes an audio-CD (Merrittorious Action, ISBN 9780982455104), in which Pfister reads 6 poems from the book. An original Broadside Press Poet of the 1960s, the Professor was a fixture in the N.O. poetry scene until 2005 when Hurricane Katrina sent him into permanent evacuation to Stamford, CT. The poems in this book reflect a lifetime immersed in the humor, pathos and idiosyncracies of New Orleans. Pfister’s colorful work has appeared in countless above and underground publications — this is the first time it comes together in one dynamite volume. Amiri Baraka says, ‘Arthur Pfister is one of the finest poets in the new world and the old one too.’ John Sinclair says, ‘The appearance of [Pfister’s] collected work is an important occasion that will rescue his brilliant works in verse from poetry oblivion and put them in our hands (and ears) where they belong.’
My Name Is New Orleans proclaims the striking deep voice over the musical accompaniment. I am a circle of clouds dancing in a hurricane’s eye/I am a star, laughing with a Mississippi moon/I am Jean Lafitte and Al Scramuzza/I am memory/I am legacy/I am history. The list rolls on, celebrating the culture of Arthur Pfister’s native city. Pfister, aka Professor Arturo, reads his work in a voice that ranges from stately to street smart — proclaiming, preaching, testifying, celebrating. This is poetry you can dance to, poetry that makes you want to raise your own voice and join in. Pfister has been a fixture on the local poetry scene for decades, issuing a chapbook here and there, composing commissioned poems for special occasions. Now, his work receives the treatment it deserves, with a four-decade retrospective, My Name Is New Orleans: 40 Years of Poetry & Other Jazz (Margaret Media, $19.95), from Mary Gehman’s Donaldsonville publishing company. Truth to tell, Pfister’s work is exuberant and inclusive; like Walt Whitman, he contains multitudes: the fathers of New Orleans, the mothers of New Orleans, the musicians, your mama’n’em — all spring to life on the page. And even more so in that gorgeous dramatic voice. –Susan Larson, The Times-Picayune
About the Author
Professor Arturo is a poet, spoken word artist, performer and educator from New Orleans. He received a Master’s of Arts degree in Writing from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in English/Journalism from the State University of New York- College at New Pfaltz. One of the original Broadside Press Poets of the 1960s, Pfister has performed his poetry, fiction, toasts and jazz poems on a solo basis or with musical accompaniment at many venues in New Orleans and a number of clubs in New York City. His work has been accompanied by musical legends such as Benjamin Kidd Lambert, Earl Turbington, Kidd Jordan, Michael Beauchamp and Henry Butler. He served as Featured Perfprmance Poet at Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club in N.O. and co-founded the performance series ARTURO and Joe’s Old Skool Jazz & Poetry Open Mic Night at the city’s legendary Edgelake Bar (featured in Elvis Presley’s film King Creole). His work has appeared in diverse publications such as NEW YORK Quarterly, FAHARI, the American Poetry Review, the Shooting Star Review, the Minnesota Review, the Gallery Mirror, EBONY, and the New Laurel Review. Currently he teaches English at a college in his new home, Stamford, CT.