Coming soon! My newest book, My Body the Guitar, will be arriving December 1 from Before Your Quiet Eyes Publications Holograph Series (Rochester, NY).
I summon Hendrix
the flames of his immolated guitar
him crouching on stage in my imagination
as he did with a can of lighter fluid
over his axe and then striking
even as I sanitize
fantasizing too Woodstock
to believe in electrified
his famed Fender Strats
even as I self-
a fiery fired poem
even as I curse
Jimi would understand
he loves me
in the time of coronavirus
I wipe the strings
of the Strat in my future
ones I dream
under waning moon
shining in this orbit
together in music
across time zones
even as I sing his
for a cure
(Originally published in ArtAscent)
My Body the Guitar is a poetry book inspired by guitars, guitarists, and their music. In “Part I, Mere Mortal,” we follow Karla’s learning curve in poems largely spoken to her guitar in a series of “Études.” In “Part II, Local Heroes,” she honors the master guitarists in her inner circle, teachers, lovers, friends, online git pals, glancing encounters, her deceased brother. In “Part III, “Great Gods,” readers encounter Karla’s idiosyncratic pantheon of immortals, including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Mark Knopfler…and one for Lindsay Buckingham, greatly influenced by your book.
~130 pages; 116 poems
High Praise for My Body the Guitar
Sexy as hell. Absolutely fucking loved it.
~Julianne Ingles, Editor Guts Publishing.
A masterful blending of story and song, there’s a transcendent quality to My Body the Guitar that goes beyond the words on the page. It’s a musical journey in three parts: obsession and desire, nostalgia and longing, and reverence and prayer. Like a troubadour’s notebook of songs, this creates such depth and vision in this gorgeous and spellbinding book, and one can hear music weaving its way from cover to cover. An emotional and intimate book that will continue to reveal its secrets every time it is read.
~Jenni Brandon, composer of Sisters of the Covid Moon for soprano, bassoon, and piano, 2021
Photo by Michele Ashlee
I was impressed by how much Karla knows about guitar masters and the guitars they love, including the intricate makings of an electric guitar itself. “Étude 5-10: Cocooned, Day 56” and “Étude 5-16: Makin’ Do” brought back those long days of the shutdown and not being able to play out in the world, but they also made me smile. I enjoyed revisiting the Met’s Play It Loud exhibit through Karla’s remembrance of its “wall-to-plexiglass-wall of guitar porn” (and I too loved seeing, among other “instrument[s] of devotion,” Clapton’s “Blackie,” from both sides). Karla describes how, on her own guitar, she “began groping for the C major/pentatonic scale from fret 5,” and “began grasping a new pattern/of being along the strings”: I remember that moment of revelation too, when I learned the pentatonic scale and suddenly realized I could play the blues—the basis of most rock and roll. And I can relate to Karla’s naming her Martin “Boner” because I got one myself every time I learned something new on the guitar (and my wife wants me to keep learning). Karla perfectly describes the joy of learning to play and, through it all, to keep on playing.
~George Ott, long-suffering, underappreciated Jersey Shore musician
Life is all about emotions, memories, and meaning. Karla brought and blended these ingredients together with music, guitars, friends, and, above all, a joyful life into an elegant poem shape. It is a privilege to read, at the same time, an intimate love letter and a tribute to all the vibe music brings. What a powerful, joyful, “musicful,” “guitarful” ride!!! We felt so proud and thrilled to read and feel that Karla wanted us all to be part of this… to be part of her life.
~Júlio Martins, Partner, luthier, AVA Guitars, (Portugal)
When reading Karla Linn Merrifield’s poems, I can hear her voice filled with nuances, cadences, and varied tempi. In other words: it is musical! How fitting that she wrote an entire collection of poems about her musical influences and her favorite instrument. Her language is thoughtfully crafted, witty, touching. Buy this book and make sure you go hear Karla read from it!
~Sylvie Beaudette, founder and former director of the Women in Music
Festival, Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY)
In a moment of uncommon lucidness, famed musician Carlos Santana had this to say about the guitar, “The guitar is shaped like a woman, with a neck you hold and a body you hug against yourself. You can touch your fingers up and down the strings, but you have to be delicate and know what you’re doing . . .” Poet Karla Linn Merrifield, exploits and explicates Santana’s erotic reflection in her stunning new collection, My Body the Guitar. Merrifield invites readers to join her on a musical and poetic journey hallmarked by Merrifield’s own unique poetic style. A veteran poet, her work showcases a variety of forms which are distinctive, humorous, transparent, and unapologetically erotic. A singular achievement of this collection is the way the poet streams her knowledge of the instrument’s history and its famous players into her work.
~Michael Escoubas, author of Images: A Collection of Ekphrastic Poetry
An incredible immersive work written from the inside out, learning to play guitar from scratch to dive deeper into poetic Nirvana.!!! A groundbreaking work written with the deepest love of the art. A virtuoso poet at the height of her powers.
~Paul Garthwaite, guitarist, composer, teacher (UK)
Price and order information will be posted as soon as it becomes available.
In the meantime, you can reserve a signed copy of My Body the Guitar from me by sending me an email to me at email@example.com. Please be sure to include your name and postal address, as well as the number of copies you’d like to reserve. (They’ll arrive in time for holiday gift-giving!) I will put you on the book reservation list, and, in advance of publication in early December, will notify you of the cost per copy.
8 thoughts on “My Body the Guitar ”
Sent from my iPhone
Thanks, Grant! Glad you took a moment to read and check in. “Talk” soon. Time to lift a glass and toast!
Way to go, Karla! You set your goals and achieve them. So glad you and Ken are cohorts with this publication…AND I still love the cover. lh
Thank you, Hanny! Thanks for dwelling in my blog!!!!!
Congratulations, Karla! I want a copy!
Thanks so much, Michael. I’ll set aside a copy for you when they arrive!!!! Thanks for believing in my words!
looking forward to seeing you two tomorrow, Karla–love, Bill
—————————————–From: “Karla Linn Merrifield” To: firstname.lastname@example.org Cc: Sent: Monday September 27 2021 3:15:30AM Subject: [New post] My Body the Guitar
karlapoet posted: ” Coming soon! My newest book, My Body the Guitar, will be arriving December 1 from Before Your Quiet Eyes Publications Holograph Series (Rochester, NY). Sample Poem Jimi Redux I summon Hendrix the flames of his immolated guitar him crou”
Thanks, Bill. I’m looking forward to it too! He’s due to arrive any minute now. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!