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Cooling Board

A Long Playing Poem

Mitchell L.H. Douglas

Publication Year: 2009

In the tradition of the Langston Hughes’ classic Montage of a Dream Deferred, Mitchell L. H. Douglas uses persona poetry to explore the personal and professional struggles of soul legend Donny Hathaway in his debut collection Cooling Board: a Long-Playing Poem. Douglas presents a narrative in two sides: side one focusing on Hathaway’s development as a young musician and subsequent rise to fame and side two bearing witness to the adversity that plagued his later years. Readers see Hathaway as true to his family and faith, and uncompromising in his quest for musical innovation. In a nod to Hathaway’s legacy as a musical trailblazer, Douglas implements a significant poetic innovation through the book’s format. By including alternate versions or “takes” of poems readers receive new information and interpretations of the poems. It can be likened to an album with previously unreleased versions of popular songs. Along the way, poems resembling liner notes and pop charts enhance the experience, reminding readers that the music is the heart of this ride. Above all, Douglas’ depiction of Hathaway reveals the human side of a man who has remained a mystery in the time since his death. Not only does the poet speak in the voices of Hathaway and his long-time collaborator Roberta Flack, the reader also hears the voices of those closest to Hathaway whom we are less familiar with: his mother, Drusella Huntley, his grandmother, Martha Crumwell—Hathaway’s earliest music teacher—and his wife, Eulaulah. With Douglas as a guide versed in the power of possessing many tongues, Cooling Board captures its reader like the best Hathaway song: passionately, honestly, and with an undeniable sense of purpose.

Published by: Red Hen Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Acknowledgments

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Contents: Playlist

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Epigraph

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pp. 13-

Liner Notes I

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pp. 15-

Side One

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pp. 17-

Essex House Hotel

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pp. 19-

Naming

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pp. 20-21

Exodus I (Chicago to St. Louis)

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pp. 22-23

Ascension (A Lesson for Miss Martha)

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pp. 24-25

The Amazing Donny Pitts & His Magic Ukulele

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pp. 26-27

The Music: An Explanation to Miss Martha

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pp. 28-29

Extensions

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pp. 30-

Trying Times, Central City

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pp. 31-32

Moving Days

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pp. 33-34

Anatomy

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pp. 35-36

Midnight Hour

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pp. 37-39

Exodus II (St. Louis to D.C.)

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pp. 40-

Meeting Eulaulah, Howard University

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pp. 41-42

What Eulaulah Hears

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pp. 43-44

Negotiating the First Date

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pp. 45-

What Stars Are For

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pp. 46-47

Meeting Eulaulah, Howard University (alternate take)

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pp. 48-

Roberta, Rebirth

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pp. 49-50

Miss Martha Meets Eulaulah

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pp. 51-

Roberta, Rebirth (alternate take)

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pp. 52-

Curtis Breaks It Down

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pp. 53-

Trio

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pp. 54-55

S.R.O.: Mr. Henry’s, Capitol Hill

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pp. 56-57

Troubadour, 1971

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pp. 58-61

The Bitter End

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pp. 62-

Side Two

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pp. 63-

Notes on ‘Life,’ a Symphony

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pp. 65-

Liner Notes II

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pp. 66-

The Hip

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pp. 67-

Jingles

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pp. 68-69

The Uninvited (Visitor 1)

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pp. 70-71

Sessions: New York

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pp. 72-

Whisperers

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pp. 73-

An Evening at St. Vincent

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pp. 74-

Diagnosis, 1973

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pp. 75-

Meds

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pp. 76-

This Is Blues

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pp. 77-

In Case You Thought It Was Easy

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pp. 78-79

The Uninvited (Visitor 2)

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pp. 80-

Chart Position (What Hits & What Does Not , Take 1)

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pp. 81-

Release Me

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pp. 82-

Phantom Limb

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pp. 83-

(Re)union

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pp. 84-85

On Country & Western

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pp. 86-87

This Is Blues (alternate take)

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pp. 88-

Roberta, Rebirth (alternate take 2)

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pp. 89-

Liner Notes III

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pp. 90-

Process of a Love Song

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pp. 91-93

What Eulaulah Hears (alternate take)

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pp. 94-95

Chemistry

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pp. 96-

Chart Position (What Hits & What Does Not , Take 2)

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pp. 97-

Sessions: New York (alternate take)

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pp. 98-99

Exits

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pp. 100-

Liner Notes IV

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pp. 101-

The Omega Sessions: Eight Steps Closer

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pp. 102-103

Make It On My Own

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pp. 104-

The Last Supper (Roberta ’s Apartment, Central Park West)

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pp. 105-

Essex House Hotel (alternate take)

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pp. 106-

Personnel

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pp. 108-109

About the Author

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pp. 112-


E-ISBN-13: 9781597093774
Print-ISBN-13: 9781597091404
Print-ISBN-10: 1597091405

Page Count: 112
Publication Year: 2009

Edition: First

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