What books are currently on your nightstand? (Or wherever you keep the ones you're working through?)
Middlemarch by George Eliot… an anthology of Spanish writing, an old collection of International poetry in translation— some ancient verse—odd and beautiful things… and of course a blank notebook for my night-scrawls and dream-notes.
Who is your favorite novelist of all time?
I usually answered Proust, quickly—but now I might change that to Faulkner whom I’ve recently been re-reading? Difficult question. Re: 19th century, I’ve read every single Trollope novel (53?), love Melville, Dickens, Balzac… for 20th century—Dos Passos, Thomas Wolfe, Baldwin, Bolaño, Saramago, Fuentes, Nabokov, Joyce, Marquez, Gaddis, Laxness, … it goes on… I get anxiety listing names, keeping a mental inventory of ‘holes’ in my catalogue…
Who is your favorite writer today?
Cormac McCarthy? That could change…
Which book do you feel best captures the music scene?
Art Pepper Straight Life. Re: jazz, and his time… it’s so brutally honest…
Which are some of your favorite memoirs by musicians?
Art Pepper– Straight Life, Charles Mingus– Beneath the Underdog
Which are some of your favorite memoirs by musicians?
Art Pepper– Straight Life, Charles Mingus– Beneath the Underdog
What kind of reader were you as a child? Which childhood books and authors stick with you most?
Absolutely voracious, insatiable, precocious reader… Oz chronicles, Lewis Carroll, A.A. Milne, Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, Uncle Wiggily, Dr. Seuss, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jules Verne… Edgar Allen Poe… de Maupassant, The Bible, The Book of Knowledge, Encyclopedias… anything I could get my hands on in our home.
What book, if any, contributed to your artistic development?
Proust… Remembrance of Things Past
At what age did you begin writing songs, or poetry?
3? My nursery school did a musical for which I’d written the score. If only I had a recording… I’ve always heard songs in my head—melodies… arrangements…
Have any of your poems or prose poems made it into your songs?
Very few; I separate poetry from song lyrics, although I wrote a song last summer called ‘Shatter’ that really came from one of the poems in ‘As Though Through Glass’. It seemed to sing itself.
When songwriting, do you hear the melody in your head while the words come to you or do the words come first?
Generally they come simultaneously; then I fine-tune lyrics. Once the first verse or the ‘hook’ is done, then the rest is like a downhill ride. I love that part.
Are there any musicians you would like to co-write with?
I find it hard to collaborate. My ideas seem to arrive as a ‘fait accompli’.
Who would you want to write your life story?
I think I have already written my story as a fictional teenage narrator. She was fairly honest with a sense of humor and had complete carte blanche access. [Note from TLC – Amy’s fictional biography is titled ‘Losing My Accent’ and it is available on kindle along with other of her works (author: Amy Madden Taylor)]
If you could have one required book on a high school curriculum, which would it be?
Faulkner’s The Unvanquished
You’re organizing a literary dinner gathering. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite? How about a jam session?
David Foster Wallace, William Gaddis, Mark Twain.
Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, Heinrich Biber
What do you plan to read next?
After some George Eliot (rereads), the Bolaño 2666 (I’ve been saving it) and eventually Miss Macintosh My Darling by Margaret Young, I tend to carry books with me and the heavy ones get sadly roadworn…
Do you have any events coming up?
Yes… mostly gigs on bass with Alan Merrill, Zonder Kennedy and Scoville Junkies, Dive Bar Romeos and Jon Paris. I’m recording a new album in Harlem—hoping to do some small band-gigs of original music… I have never been happy with my solo performance– and will proudly have a new poetry collection coming early next year called ‘Light Sings of Wear’.
For more about Amy, click www.amymaddenmusic.com. and for a live interview done at The 92nd Street Y in NYC (and shots of Amy’s Library!!) which admittedly, is soul of Amy, click https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=JIgncOUslcQ
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