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Thursday May 25, 2017
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Thomas Sayers Ellis



Ellis often writes about music, from doo-wop to funk to go-go — a party music born in Washington, D.C., in the 1980s that mixes nonstop dance beats with bursts of soul, funk, jazz, and hip-hop. He's not imitating music but writing in solidarity with it, learning from its rhythms but also evoking its feeling, its style, what it means to us. Consider his prose poem "Bright Moments," his ultimate revel in words for words' sake, beats for beats' sake. It's dedicated to the Globe Poster Printing Corporation, whose posters for go-go shows light up Washington, D.C., with the music's promise:

All night long all night long the Day-Glo day all night long. Orange Blaze makes the poster glow makes the poster glow just like the globe. . . . A Day-Glo poster postering dawn. The light from the posters lasts longer than the shows. A bridge to cross a percussive map home.

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