I lived long enough to get this down onto paper, knowing well that -- like notations on musical score paper -- it'll go on being strictly dead stuff, an artifact, until another human being runs it through that most marvelous of instruments, imagination, and transforms the look of it into sound by breathing sense and meaning and feeling back into these blues. ( Drowning in the Sea of Love, 136)
In the work by hundreds of writers around the world, we witness the extraordinary influence of jazz music and its mythic anecdotal history. For those who use "that most marvelous of instruments" to combine jazz with poetry, the music actively instructs poetic sensibilities. The varied works by these writers directs others to the limitless synesthetic unions of these two art forms. And it was in that spirit of discovery and joy that Etheridge Knight wrote this inscription shortly before he died: "Be / making / sounds / Words / be / beautiful."
Two other poems about Mingus worth noting are Elaine Cohen's "In Memoriam Mingus ( 1922-79)" and Ira Sadoff's "Mingus: Last Speech." Cohen's poem is one of the strongest pieces in Chris Parker's uneven anthology B Flat,Bebop,Scat