The Last Jazz Fan and Other Poems

Poetry - General
42 Pages
Reviewed on 10/08/2018
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Author Biography

Kenneth Salzmann has been active in literary programming and publishing since the 1970s, when he began working with New Virginia Review in a marketing and development capacity. Over the years, he has administered a long-running and highly regarded series of readings and workshops, co-edited an award-winning anthology of poetry and prose, and served as a poetry judge for several international competitions, while continuing to create his own work.

His poetry has appeared in numerous print and online journals and magazines—among them Comstock Review, Stockholm Review of Literature, Antiphon, Rattle, Medicinal Purposes, Piedmont Literary Review, Afterthoughts, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, California Quarterly, Chronogram, Verse-Virtual, Better Than Starbucks, Tipton Poetry Review, Chiron Review, and others, and in such anthologies as Riverine: An Anthology of Hudson Valley Writers, Stories of Music, Obama-mentum, Beloved on the Earth: 150 Poems of Grief and Gratitude, The Heart of All That Is, Love You Madly, and Reeds & Rushes Pitch, Buzz & Hum.

Formerly a journalist and an arts administrator, he now lives and writes in Ajijic, Mexico, and Upstate New York.

You can watch a video of him discussing Child of My Child: Poems and Stories for Grandparents on "Today's Authors" with host Gary McLouth at

    Book Review

Reviewed by Geoff Habiger for Readers' Favorite

The Last Jazz Fan and Other Poems by Kenneth Salzmann is a short collection of poetry that touches on the unique experiences and inspiration of the poet. While short in length, the thirty poems within this collection touch on many subjects including nature, culture, the world we inhabit and the people who bring the world to life, and topical and relevant events affecting our lives today. Kenneth draws his inspiration from a long career in literary programming and his personal connections with many other gifted writers, and his experience and wealth of knowledge are evident here. The poems in this collection touch on a variety of topics.

Poetry is a very personal experience for the poet and the reader, each bringing and taking something unique from each poem. Kenneth Salzmann’s poems are no different, and I expect each reader will find something special and amazing in the poems within this collection. In my case, I greatly enjoyed three of the poems in particular: “All books this shelf twenty-five cents”, “Notes on the Great American Songbook”, and “Tango Lessons”. These three poems touched special and uniquely different chords for me. As an author myself, “All books…” was a fun way to dive into the mysteries of the life of a book after the author has released it into the world. “Notes…” is a poignant and timely reflection on America, while “Tango Lessons” fuses language and motion into a wonderfully dynamic poem. The Last Jazz Fan and Other Poems is a great collection of poetry by Kenneth Salzmann. Readers are sure to find several poems that will resonate with them.

Compulsive Reader review

Reviewed by Jan Peregrine

The Last Jazz Fan And Other Poems
by Kenneth Salzmann
Paperback: 42 pages, May 11, 2018, ISBN-13: 978-1985201194

Often I’m a bit stunned by how my book choices tell a story, usually ironic, about my personal life. Sometimes it’s more thought-provoking, as is the case with a little book I just read a couple of times called The Last Jazz Fan And Other Poems. It’s one of those sweet sax solos disguised as a book of poetry, trilling down with ease into the marrow of your bones.

Kenneth Salzmann may be a musical guy enthralled with jazz, but in this instance music is really a metaphor for poetry. He is a poet. I’m a fan of poetry like his. It’s as simple as that—and as messy. You see, his poetry really does creep into the bones, the marrow, the blood. His first poem “Progress Notes” sets the theme. He sighs about going to a doctor who had no sense of wonder about the nature of blood. This poor doctor had never read Macbeth!

Many poems reflect moodily on dying, on death. One poem is told from the vantage point of a deceased person observing living people “honoring” the dead at cemeteries and crypts in a desire to keep a barrier between them. Other common themes include living on in “the immutability of ashes” and roses and art and ink stains. Ink stains is one way of looking at the words we write; even a book that ends abruptly and is abandoned.

Salzmann has a fine wit when he explores the cultural, political American landscape, such as in “Notes On The Great American Songbook.” No, it’s not inspired by music by Judy Garland or Sammy Davis, Jr. as far as I can tell. The last lines of the nine stanzas recall jazz standards. Although I’m stymied by the last one that mentions a clambake. He surely isn’t maliciously referring to a cheesy, 1960s’ Elvis movie? Hmm!

Here are a couple of examples I particularly enjoy:

walls divide people
fears behind fences
don’t get around much anymore

the people’s business
congress set to convene
send in the clowns

One of the coolest poems in the collection is called “Transparency.” Here’s how it begins:

And when all was done and then said,
it wasn’t his flaws that caused
him to disappear.

Salzmann lives in Mexico and Spanish words are sprinkled through some poems. A couple of titles are Spanish. I didn’t appreciate them as much as I did the political jabs at America, as above or in a poem called “The Stadium,” which seems to mock how we play at life. He reminds us that, like Mexico, America’s dark-eyed as well “against all its wishes” and how it hungers for a “common language.” I could gush more about The Last Jazz Fan And Other Poems.

The Last Jazz Fan And Other Poems impressed the hell out of me, even if a few poems are a bit ‘elevated’ by another language and exhibit misty-eyed spirituality. I feel as though I’ve only skimmed the surface of the beauty of its thirty or so poems and I’m looking forward to continuing to explore them.

About the reviewer: Jan Peregrine has tried her hand at self-publishing and has about seven she recommends on Amazon or Audible. She has a new audiobook on, Dr. Freudine Is In: The Drama Deepens. Reviewers may ask for promo codes.

Ajijic Author Receives Award from The 7t

Beverly Hills, California -- The 7th Annual Beverly Hills Book Awards® recognized The Last Jazz Fan and Other Poems by Kenneth Salzmann as finalist in the Poetry category.

Established in 2013, the Beverly Hills Book Awards® competition is judged by experts from all aspects of the book industry, including publishers, writers, editors, book designers and professional copywriters. Contest winners and finalists are determined based on “overall excellence of presentation – a synergy of form and content” over a wide range of genres.

"We are proud to announce the winners and finalists whose books truly embody the excellence that this award was created to celebrate, and we salute you all for your fine work" – Ellen Reid, Founder BHBA.

The Last Jazz Fan and Other Poems was released in May by Gelles-Cole Literary Enterprises and has garnered accolades from such leading writers as poet and novelist Marge Piercy, who said, “Salzmann is a rare poet who can draft excellent and moving poems about nature and politics, about love and place, about old age, and friendship.

“You can feel in the poems the intelligence of the mind that created them and the compassion and wit of the poet.”

For more information, or to purchase the collection in paperback or ebook, please visit

For more information about the award, please