“There’s magic in this brilliant, lyrical, and deeply informed ethnography. Ezell, happily, never gets in the way of the Austronesian artists, musicians, and craftsmen whose self-conscious recreation and performance of indigenous identity he has so closely and sympathetically observed. So much comprehension has rarely come with so much pleasure and satisfaction.”
—James C. Scott, Sterling Professor of Political Science and Anthropology, Yale University
HANOI RHAPSODIES is a chapbook of love poems set in the industrial cityscape of contemporary Hanoi. This is the first published collection of poems on Vietnam by an American citizen who is neither a war veteran nor ethnically Vietnamese.
A view of Hanoi that is distinctively dystopian and authentically visceral, while retaining a strong humane sensibility.
–Martin Alexander, Executive Editor, Asia Literary Review
These vivid poems by Scott Ezell give a sense of Hanoi as an Asian City of Dreadful Night, dense with temptation and lost hopes, in which this young American poet (to quote James Thompson) “writes in the dust” his “heart’s deep languor” in poems of sharp diction and rich imagery.
–John Balaban, author of Remembering Heaven’s Face
HANOI RHAPSODIES includes black and white photos of Hanoi by the author. Printing costs for this publication were funded by the US Embassy in Hanoi.
Excerpts from HANOI RHAPSODIES were published in the Asia Literary Review, Winter 2012, and may be viewed here. An interview on these poems with Scott Ezell can be read here.
In 1911, Ishi emerged from an isolated hunting and gathering lifestyle in the foothills of northern California. Called the “last wild American Indian,” he was taken to San Francisco, where he lived until his death in 1916.
Songs from a Yahi Bow, released by Pleasure Boat Studio, is the first published book of poems on Ishi. This book consists of work by three poets, including Pulitzer Prize-winner Yusef Komunyakaa and NEA Literature fellowship recipient Mike O’Connor, written across four decades, and coincides with the 100th anniversary of Ishi’s emergence from the wilderness. This colllection includes an introduction to recent discoveries about Ishi, as well as Thomas Merton’s 1968 essay, “Ishi: A Meditation.”
See a sample from Scott Ezell’s poem “Ishi” on the POETRY page.
SONGS FROM A YAHI BOW is available now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and may be ordered by your local independent bookstore.
Petroglyph Americana is a book-length poem about the landscapes, communities, and history of the American west, with resonances and reflections from Asian landscapes and cultures. Petroglyph Americana is published by Empty Bowl Press, an independent press in Port Townsend, Washington, that has published poetry, essays, and translation with bioregional, anti-militarization, and Pacific Rim themes since the 1970s.
See a sample from Petroglyph Americana and other poems by Scott Ezell on the POETRY page.
Petroglyph Americana is available now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and may be ordered by your local independent bookstore.
You can now download the first half of the new album “Where Will You Go When Your Heart is Free”–10 cover songs by Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Cat Power, Billy Bragg and others. Download these songs HERE FOR FREE!
The second half of the album, 10 original songs, will be ready at the end of June–pre-order it HERE!
We’ve all gone about 10,000 miles too far in every direction. Train, boat, helicopter, jetski, horse, somersault, bellyflop, whatever. Steel engines, coal smoke, landscapes passing through a streaked pane of glass. Spilled coffee and peanut shells strewn across the floor like abandoned hopes. Don’t worry about it. Buy your ticket. Step from the cement platform to the moving car. Read your pulp detective novel, watch the wheat silos drift by, stare down into the stained stainless steel toilet bowl, watch your efflux disgorge and spill onto the ties between the rusted tracks–
“The Death of the World Undone” is a 33-minute tribal-industrial composition that combines guitar feedback, beercan percussion, bamboo flute, djembe, and cricket songs–recorded on a single reel of 1-inch analog tape at Hinoki Studio in Dulan, Taiwan, in the mountains above the Pacific coast.
Scott Ezell’s poem-painting cycle “Migration” was posted in 8 installments in Seattle’s Center on Contemporary Arts (CoCA) website. This work is based on an art residency in New Caledonia in September 2007. Click here to see the last and latest post, or here to start from the beginning.
A selection from “Migration” part 1:
from Pacific blue
low and long,
with teeth raised into clouds
and tails that moult
from green to blue,
lipped with shimmers of sand
and wreathed in tropic flowers….
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Blue Bird Gray Day
“Re-evolution” is about crawling out of the sea a second time, trying to get it right. This piece was composed on the Pacific coast of Taiwan in 2003, but recently revised and recorded in Seattle.
“Blue Bird on a Gray Day” was written in Beijing after several months on the road in Vietnam and Western China. The words go like this:
It’s been a hard day to make it through
I never thought I’d feel so far away from you
A thousand city skylines striding thru my brain
And I’m tired
Sometimes I forget how much I love you
I don’t know why…it’s some kind of misguided continental drift of my mind….taking me over….making me lose myself, I lose myself….
I’ve been walking all day these city streets
Everything is changed, everything is gray
I saw a blue bird fall down from the sky
He walked up the street, stepped into a bar, ordered up a drink
He drank a double shot of whiskey, smoked a cigarette….
Played a lovesong on the jukebox, told a couple of dirty jokes…
All the barflies laughed
Then he stepped back out into the gray
Spat in the gutter, spread his wings, rose up into the air
And the wind blew him away
I wish I could follow, follow
I wish I could follow him
I’d fly back to you, you
I’d fly back to you