Novelist Laura Warrell
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“I needed this to be compelling both for people who care about music and those who not only don’t care about music but really don’t care about jazz,” says Laura Warrell about her novel, Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm. “I needed to create that balance.”
Warrell is interviewed at length in the Winter 2022 issue of Brilliant Corners, where she discusses her lauded debut, which focuses on a range of women who orbit around and within the life of jazz trumpeter Circus Palmer.
As usual, the conversation was conducted by the journal’s founding editor, Sascha Feinstein, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of English at Lycoming College. “Of the thousands of jazz-related novels,” Feinstein said, “I believe this is the first to focus on the women involved with a jazz musician—from his daughter to his ex-wife and a slew of lovers. Beyond that, the prose is spectacular.”
The novel has been named a “Must Read for Fall” by The Washington Post, People magazine, The Boston Globe, and other publications. Kirkus notes: “Her more intimate set pieces deliver sensual, erotic vibrations, and, most crucially for a novel that takes its title from Jelly Roll Morton, she knows how to write about the way it feels to deliver jazz.”
The issue also features poetry by several writers, including two former State poet laureates, Sydney Lea (Vermont) and George Kalamaras (Indiana). In addition to two short stories, the issue includes an essay by Richard Terrill about finding the ideal tenor saxophone. The portrait of Coleman Hawkins reproduced on the cover is by Canadian artist Marianne Morris.
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, 1 College Place, Williamsport, PA 17701. More information can be found at www.lycoming.edu/BrilliantCorners or on Brilliant Corners’ Facebook page.