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"I am the bearer of water, woodheawer's mother, prophet, poet, rival, lover; nymph, hag, kitten, bitch even I often can't tell exactly which."

Professor Sarah Webster Fabio was born in 1928 Nashville Tennesse. She was one of six children an begun writing poetry at the age of seven. By the time she left school she joined Fisk University in 1946 and became a member of the writers workshop where her first works were published.

Once she obtained her master's degree in language arts, creative writing with an emphasis on poetry and shortly afterwards she went on to work with the noble king of black writing — Langston Hughes, her work after then was widely published along with some recordings for Smithsonian Folkways, label home to Hughes and Mary Lou Williams. Her first real world written publications Saga of a Black Man (1968), was followed by A Mirror, a Soul (1969).

Fabio's poetry reflects the 60's Black Arts movement with its trendy emphasis on the Black Aesthetic, yet is classic in its subtle blending of non-Western and Western literary metaphors. Fabio skilfully handles both traditions.

Fabio's training enabled her to combine Western metaphor with black realism. Grounding her work in the oral tradition and performing her poetry to jazz accompaniments, Fabio reached a wide and diverse audience. In 1966, she performed at the First World Festival of Negro Art in Dakar, Senegal. Returning home, she lectured at the California College of Arts and Crafts and the University of California at Berkeley, where she worked to create their Black Studies department.

Fabio's most impressive collection of poetry is the seven-volume published tome Rainbow Signs (1973). The rainbow symbolised for her a sign of hope following the storms of protest during the turbulent 1960s. “The Hurt of It All” (listen below) voices the poet's farewell, saying “that's all she wrote.”

She passed away on November 7th 1979 so today we are paying tribute to the great Fabio with some specially remixed versions of her poetry by Blackclassical. All the remixes come from her Soul Ain't: SOUL IS LP.

Soul Ain't is a collection which represents a wide range of poems written over a ten year period which she describes as her "mature years." During this time, Fabio was focused on the "spiritualism communicated by the poems in which she sees and tells it ‘like it is.’" Fabio’s poetry is heavily influenced by rhythm and ranges topically from fiercely political to purely emotional.

Anyone who has listened to my stuff over the years will no doubt know how important I think Fabio's work was. I hope you enjoy this tribute to here and please feel free to comment here: www.thewordisbond.com/jazz/?p=618 and let us know what you think?

Today is also the day we find out who will win the US presidency. God Bless Obama.


released November 7, 2012

All lyrics by Sarah Webster Fabio. All music played and Orchestrated by Black Classical (Tracks 2—7 based on the Piano Works of Erik Satie).



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