NC Literary Hall of Fame



The Rhythm Method, Razzamatazz, and Memory: How to Make Your Poetry Swing by Keith Flynn

Press 53
$24.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-941209-99-8
March, 2019
Available from your local bookstore or from the publisher

"Keith Flynn’s kaleidoscope, tornado-speed tour through modern and postmodern poetics is nothing less than a portrait of the turbulent soul’s history of our times. He is respectful and appreciative of traditional methods and poets, but his more ardent sympathies are with the new, the newer, the very newest. Informative—oh, yes indeed!—but The Rhythm Method, Razzamatazz, and Memory is also one of the most engaging, soulful, generous, and truly exciting books I ever read. Open it and hang on to your head."
—Fred Chappell, NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee and former NC poet laureate

"Keith Flynn writes about poetry with the same energy and passion that Jerry Lee Lewis plays piano. Yet equally impressive is Flynn’s immense knowledge of both poetry and music, which makes The Rhythm Method, Razzamatazz, and Memory required reading for veteran as well as novice poets.
—Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of Serena

Poems are made of words, not ideas. Those words are rhythmic and, when chosen and composed properly, are capable of entering a reader’s or listener’s body and resonating. The Rhythm Method, Razzamatazz, and Memory explains the historical connections between word, image, and sound to empower you to create work that is dynamic, vital, and musical—to create poems that live in the air.

The first section, Learning to Listen, begins by reflecting on the birth of the American poetic voice, teaching you to find your own voice by dissecting a poem’s line, sound by sound, rediscovering not only the power of your poetry but also where that power comes from. The second section, Learning to Observe, outlines the history of foreign influences—from the surrealism of French writers Charles Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud to that of Spanish artists Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali—inspiring you to explore your experimental impulses and discover new ways of seeing. The third section, Learning to Speak, focuses on the influence of music on twentieth-century poetry; beginning with the troubadour and the slave experience, through the eras of jazz and blues, and onto the slam stages of the modern city. The different strategies of these performers offer insight into your development as a creator and prepare you to act as a vocal interpreter of your work.

The Rhythm Method, Razzamatazz, and Memory shows you how to extract the sparks of language, art, and music that have always stimulated and nourished our poetic vernacular and to use the fire to forge our unique voice and your own style of performance.

Keith Flynn ( is the award-winning author of seven books, including six collections of poetry: most recently Colony Collapse Disorder (Wings Press, 2013) and forthcoming The Skin of Meaning (Red Hen Press, 2020). He is the Executive Director and producer of the TV show, “LIVE at White Rock Hall,” and Animal Sounds Productions, both which create collaborations between writers and musicians in video and audio formats. His award-winning poetry and essays have appeared in many journals and anthologies around the world, including The American Literary Review, The Colorado Review, Poetry Wales, Five Points, Poetry East, The Southern Poetry Anthology, The Poetics of American Song Lyrics, Writer’s Chronicle, The Cimarron Review, Rattle, Shenandoah, Word, and Witness: 100 Years of NC Poetry, Crazyhorse, and many others. He has been awarded the Sandburg Prize for poetry, a 2013 NC Literary Fellowship, the ASCAP Emerging Songwriter Prize, the Paumanok Poetry Award and was twice named the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for NC. Flynn is founder and managing editor of Asheville Poetry Review, which began publishing in 1994.

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