PUBLISHING AND CONTRIBUTING EDITOR JAY V. RUVOLO

The summer 2018 issue of The Falling Leaf Review has been published. It is available to read on line at http://issuu.com/thefallingleafreview.

Soon, The Falling Leaf Review will be available for sale on ISSUU.COM.

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J.R. Monterose

Frank Anthony Monterose Jr. (“J.R.” is simply a corruption of the Junior) is a native of Detroit, where he was born in 1927. He is not, however, a Detroiter by any other token than the accident of birth, for before he was old enough to talk, let alone blow a horn, he was transplanted by his family to Utica, N.Y., which has been home base ever since.

J.R.’s musical studies were centered mainly on the clarinet; he had very little formal saxophone training. The first great influences were Coleman Hawkins and the late Chu Berry; but “the real inspiration that decided me to take up tenor seriously rather than clarinet or alto was, believe it or not, Tex Beneke.”

J.R. was still in his early teens when his extra-scholastic musical experiences began to broaden, all the way from the Utica Junior Symphony to a nearby strip joint. Meanwhile he was learning a few things about modern harmony. “Most of my influences in learning chord changes were piano players. I dig pure harmonies; I’m for the Bud Powell school. Sam Mancuso, a guitarist and pianist with a real natural talent helped me find the way.”

After working with various territory bands in 1948 and ’49, J.R. caught his first taste of the big time, in a somewhat distilled form, when he was invited to tour with an orchestra led by the late Henry “Hot Lips” Busse in 1950. “There was some good young fellows in the band,” he recalls, “and once in a while there was an opportunity for a few solo bars.” But after a long tour that wound up in California he felt sated with enough shuffle rhythm to last him for the rest of his life.

Back home, he worked locally around Utica and Syracuse through most of 1951 before spending six months with Buddy Rich–“That was when Buddy had a big band, with Davey Schildkraut, Allen Eager, and Philly Joe Jones playing second drums. But you just don’t get enough blowing to do in a big band. After six months I was drugged with my own playing, and I went back home and spent the next couple of years working in little joints but with good men.”

The next opportunity to display himself came in the Claude Thornhill band. Again, there were distinguished colleagues, among them Gene Quill and Dick Sherman, but again there was the frustration of big band limitations, and after a couple of months he decided he couldn’t make it. Next came a steady gig for a solid year at the Nut Club in Greenwich Village with Nick Stabulas, under a liberal arrangement that allowed him to send subs in anytime he liked. This offered him chances for gigs with such intrepid modern jazzmen as Teddy Charles and Charles Mingus. “I learned something from those associations; I didn’t go about it the same way they did, from studying; I got it all from listeneing, but I guess I was doing what they wanted and they seemed to dig it.”

–LEONARD FEATHER, from the liner notes,

J.R. Monterose, Blue Note.

Baudelaire On The Flowers of Evil

You know that I have always considered that literature and the arts pursue an aim independent of morality. Beauty of conception and style is enough for me. But this book, whose title (Fleurs du mal) says everything, is clad, as you will see, in a cold and sinister beauty. It was created with rage and patience. Besides, the proof of its positive worth is in all the ill that they speak of it. The book enrages people. Moreover, since I was terrified myself of the horror that I should inspire, I cut out a third from the proofs. They deny me everything, the spirit of invention and even the knowledge of the French language. I don’t care a rap about all these imbeciles, and I know that this book, with its virtues and its faults, will make its way in the memory of the lettered public, beside the best poems . . .

—Baudelaire

Woolf and Craftsmanship

Words, English words, are full of echoes, of memories, of associations—naturally. They have been out and about, on people’s lips, in their houses, in the streets, in the fields, for so many centuries. And that is one of the chief difficulties in writing them today—that they are so stored with meanings, with memories, that they have contracted so many famous marriages. The splendid word “incarnadine,” for example—who can use it without remembering also “multitudinous seas”? In the old days, of course, when English was a new language, writers could invent new words and use them. Nowadays it is easy enough to invent new words—they spring to the lips whenever we see a new sight or feel a new sensation—but we cannot use them because the language is old. You cannot use a brand new word in an old language because of the very obvious yet mysterious fact that a word is not a single and separate entity, but part of other words. It is not a word indeed until it is part of a sentence. Words belong to each other, although, of course, only a great writer knows that the word “incarnadine” belongs to “multitudinous seas.” To combine new words with old words is fatal to the constitution of the sentence. In order to use new words properly you would have to invent a new language; and that, though no doubt we shall come to it, is not at the moment our business. Our business is to see what we can do with the English language as it is. How can we combine the old words in new orders so that they survive, so that they create beauty, so that they tell the truth? That is the question. —from “Craftsmanship,” an essay delivered as a lecture on the BBC, April 20th, 1937

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Flaneuse Oblique; Va. Woolf and Advice to a Young Poet

[S]ummon all your courage, exert all your vigilance, invoke all the gifts that Nature has been induced to bestow. Then let your rhythmical sense wind itself in and out among men and women, omnibuses, sparrows—whatever come along the street—until it has strung them together in one harmonious whole. That perhaps is [the writer’s] task—to find the relation between things that seem incompatible yet have a mysterious affinity, to absorb every experience that comes your way fearlessly and saturate it completely so that your poem is a whole, not a fragment; to re–think human life into poetry and so give us tragedy again and comedy by means of characters not spun out at length in the novelist’s way, but condensed and synthesised in the poet’s way–that is what we look to you to do now. But as I do not know what I mean by rhythm nor what I mean by life, and as most certainly I cannot tell you which objects can properly be combined together in a poem—that is entirely your affair—and as I cannot tell a dactyl from an iambic, and am therefore unable to say how you must modify and expand the rites and ceremonies of your ancient and mysterious art—I will move on to safer ground and turn again to these little books themselves. —from “A Letter to a Young Poet,” 1932

THE FALLING LEAF REVIEW is now a Semi-annual on the Solstices

The Falling Leaf Review, published on ISSUU.COM/thefallingleafreview has shifted its publication schedule. It is currently a Semi-annual published each Solstice. Look for it in the upcoming week. It is still a literary review with fiction, essays, poetry, commentary, photos and art. Publishing and Contributing Editor, Jay V. Ruvolo.

Cultural Cholesterol [flash fiction]

Criticism. How do you receive criticism? What is it about the critique of literature that differs from your parents criticism? Is it really as different as we would like to say, at least those of us in the Academy (or should that be Academies, yes, those of us in the Academies of Higher Learning [is that what we do at University?])? Questions beget questions, I used to say, and herein now it is no different.

But let me say that Susan Sontag was correct in her diary entry–how long ago, now? Decades ago? Yes! Correct was she when she said that most literary criticism is “cultural cholesterol.” Cultural cholesterol. Oh yes! Fabulous, no?

She said that criticism was a “reactive indignation,” meaning? Yes, most critique is only reactive. Yes, of course, we have come to say, some of us, at least, that is we who are still concerned for literature, the literary . . . who does not know that literature is a branch of Epistemology? Where was this going?

Ah! As she said, “Most notions about literature are reactive — in the hands of lesser talents, merely reactive”; and as I add, “especially Post Structuralist critique.” The latter was born of a seething resentment of everything literary by those who loathe anything related to what too many, in their minds, have called Western Civilization. Yes, that mouthful is worth the chew. Hard to swallow?

Something like Deconstruction becomes a dog whistle for those who feel they can no longer be a part of a tradition that they imagine would have marginalized them if they had not rested intellectual and academic hegemony from the previous bearers of a tradition all Post-Structuralists then had to lambast as fake, or so the individual psychologies go into the mentality that has bred a hatred of literature, a hatred of the literary, a dismantling of all that has ever gone into literacy, being literate; thus creating systems of under-education–entrenched at all levels as it is, leaving paths clear for Power to become even more Powerful and Money even more monied, each trading in the other with the other . . .

We have become like the fool who chases the devil in the forrest of Truth and Law and cuts down all the trees of Law and Truth to get at Him, the Devil, only to find that the devil turns to face this fool who no longer has a stick of Truth or Law between him and the devil.