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Playing the Black Piano

4.28  ·  Rating Details  ·  43 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
In this new collection, noted essayist Bill Holm (Coming Home Crazy, Eccentric Islands, The Heart Can Be Filled Anywhere on Earth) returns to his true love -- poetry. Like a modern-day Walt Whitman bestriding America and the world, Holm comments on the waywardness and promise of the human species. Playing the Black Piano reflects Holm's time in Iceland (his ancestral home) ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published February 17th 2004 by Milkweed Editions
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Terry
Dec 31, 2014 Terry rated it it was amazing
I gotta say I wasn’t a big fan of Bill Holm until now. I tried reading “Iron John” and just couldn’t get through it. “Playing the Black Piano” is just musical. There’s quite a variety of poems, ranging from experiences in Iceland to nights on the prairie to classical music to a section of poems revolving around the death of a friend dying of AIDS. In some ways he reminds me of Billy Collins, but Holm is more Norse – sort of withheld humor. An enjoyable collection of poetry.
Alan Michael Wilt
Nov 10, 2012 Alan Michael Wilt rated it it was amazing
The character of Bill Holm’s new collection of poems, Playing the Black Piano, can be discerned from reading the book’s dedication page; it is offered in memory of two men

who practiced princely generosity to guests, to literature, to the liveliness and wisdom of the human spirit, who kept their fine old houses open to a little good whiskey and good talk late in the night, who left too soon. Salud, my friends!


Holm lives up to the spirit of these old friends in poems that speak eloquently of place
...more
Sue
Jan 28, 2013 Sue rated it it was amazing
Any title with a piano in it is going to grab me, but some don’t turn out to be good. This book of poetry is delicious. Holm is wonderful poet and essayist. His poems are real, relatable, and filled with lines that take me to new places I would never have discovered on my own. The black piano refers to a piano in the room of a friend who is dying of AIDs. Using famous piano compositions as the vehicle, Holm takes us through the dying process, from finding out about his friend's illness to scatte ...more
Rachel Coyne
Apr 10, 2014 Rachel Coyne rated it it was amazing
Some haunting lines
Julie
Dec 16, 2009 Julie rated it really liked it
Finally, a book of poetry that I like! Thank you, book group for choosing this for us to read. I will not shut poetry out of my life completely from now on!
Nina
Feb 01, 2011 Nina rated it really liked it
Lovely, lyrical, memorable. You can almost hear Bill Holm's voice as you read. Perfect for folks who 'don't read poetry.'
Paulette
Oct 07, 2013 Paulette rated it it was amazing
MN's Bill Holm writes poetry in this book about Iceland, music and death.
Keli Wright
Apr 11, 2012 Keli Wright rated it really liked it
Some of Bill Holm's poems spoke to me. Some didn't. And some sang arias.
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Jan 06, 2016
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Bill Holm was an American poet, essayist, memoirist, and musician.

Holm was born on a farm north of Minneota, Minnesota, the grandson of Icelandic immigrants. He attended Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota where he graduated in 1965. Later, he attended the University of Kansas.

Holm won a Fulbright and went to Iceland for a year, which stretched into longer. He continued to visit I
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