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In regard to his book, “What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong's Later Years,” Ricky Riccardi, director of research collections for the Louis Armstrong House Museum, said, “I wanted anybody to be able to pick it up and be engaged… You don’t need to be a musicologist; Armstrong’s life alone was dramatic enough: race, failing health, all the accomplishments, the humorous anecdotes — that was enough.”
In the feature interview for the Winter 2019 issue of Brilliant Corners, Riccardi discusses his experiences writing about the renowned jazz artist Louis Armstrong, from extensive liner notes to well-researched biographies. Sascha Feinstein, Ph.D., Robert L. and Charlene Shangraw Professor of English at Lycoming College and editor of Brilliant Corners, conducted the interview at the Louis Armstrong Archives in Queens College in March. Their discussion included Riccardi’s introduction to Armstrong’s genius, the daunting amount of literature about him, the musicians and culture surrounding Armstrong throughout his life, and Riccardi’s own feelings about Armstrong as a personal and cultural hero.
In addition to the Riccardi interview, the Winter 2019 issue of Brilliant Corners features a trove of poetry, fiction, and essays, all from distinguished writers such as Robert Gibb, the recipient of the 2017 Sandeen Poetry Prize, the Prize Americana for Poetry 2019, and a Pushcart Prize; John Stupp, the recipient of the 2017 Cathy Bowers Poetry Prize; Tony Whedon, the recipient of the 2002 Mid-List Press Award for Creative Non-Fiction; and many more.
Brilliant Corners is a biannual journal that highlights an exceptional collection of literature and art pertaining to jazz. Founded in 1996, the journal bears strong ties to Lycoming College, with contributors such as Feinstein, who serves as the managing editor, and Gary R. Hafer, Ph.D., John P. Graham Teaching Professor of English at Lycoming College, who serves as the production design editor. The publication is funded in part by the College, the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, and private endowments.
A subscription costs $12 per year ($18 for international orders), and checks or money can be sent to Brilliant Corners, Lycoming College, One College Place, Williamsport, PA 17701. More information can be found at www.lycoming.edu/BrilliantCorners or on Brilliant Corners’ Facebook page.