Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Paul Garon  

Pen Name: None

Genre: History Poetry

Born: 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky


-- Website -- http://www.beasleybooks.com
-- Paul Garon on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=paul+garon


Illinois Connection

Garon lives in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Paul Garon is an American author, writer, and editor, noted for his meditations on surrealist works, and also a noted scholar on blues as a musical and cultural movement. He was one of the founding editors of Living Blues magazine in 1970. Garon and his wife Beth currently own and operate Beasley Books, a bookstore in Chicago. It is a bookstore of rare first editions and collectible books on subjects such as African American studies, labor history, psychiatry / psychoanalysis and one of the largest stocks in the US of scarce and out of print books on jazz and blues. Some of the store's best books are on display at Chicago Rare Book Center, in Evanston, Illinois.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Woman With Guitar: Memphis Minnie's Blues
ISBN: 0306804603

Da Capo Press. 1992

Universally recognized as one of the greatest blues artists, Memphis Minnie (1897–1973) wrote and recorded hundreds of songs, among them the famous "Bumble Bee Blues," "I'm Talking About You," and "What's the Matter with the Mill?" Blues people as diverse as Muddy Waters, Johnny Shines, Big Mama Thornton, and Chuck Berry have acknowledged her as a major influence. At a time when most female vocalists sang Tin Pan Alley material, Minnie write her own lyrics and accompanied her singing with magnificent guitar-playing. Thanks to her merciless imagination and dark humor, her songs rank among the most vigorous and challenging popular poetry in any language. Although organized feminism was at it's lowest ebb, Memphis Minnie, a black working-class woman, called no man master, defied gender stereotypes, and exemplified a radically adventurous life-style that makes most careers of the '20s and '30s seem dull by comparison. Woman with Guitar is the first full-length study of the life and work of this extraordinary free spirit, focusing on the lively interplay between Minnie's evolving artistry and the African American community in which she lived and worked. Drawing on folklore, psychoanalysis, critical theory, women's studies, and surrealism, the Garons' inspired explorations of Minnie's songs illuminate the poetics of popular culture as well as the largely hidden history of working-class women's self emancipation.

Blues and the Poetic Spirit (Roots of Jazz S)
ISBN: 0872863158

City Lights Publishers. 2001

While much has been written about the sociological significance of the blues, this is a unique inquiry into the blues and the mind, a study of the blues as thought. Here, the subconscious power of the blues is examined from a poetic and psychological perspective, illuminating the blues’ deepest creative sources and exploring its far-reaching influence and appeal.

Like Surrealist poetry in particular, blues communicate through highly charged symbols of aggression and desire—eros, crime, magic, night, and drugs, among others. A close analysis of classic blues lyrics, along with a wealth of source material from Freud and James Frazer, to Breton and Marcuse, conveys the blues’ major poetic function of spiritual revolt against repression.

First published in 1975, Blues and the Poetic Spirit is a blues literature classic. This long-awaited new edition assesses developments in the blues since that time and outlines the social and political forces that continue to shape its evolution.

"Paul Garon's study of the blues represents a new and important approach to the analysis of the blues as a psychopoetic phenomenon…this work is an important starting place for researchers who want to investigate the essence of the blues."—Samuel Floyd

"Absolutely the best book on the blues."—Robin D.G. Kelley

Paul Garon has written about the blues for nearly fifty years. A co-founder of Living Blues, he is also the author of The Devil's Son-in-Law: The Story of Peetie Wheatstraw and His Songs, Blues and the Poetic Spirit and What's the Use of Walking if a Freight Train's Going Your Way, as well as a small collection of prose poems, Rana Mozelle. He and his wife, co-author Beth Garon, own and operate Beasley Books, a used and rare book business in Chicago.

The Devil's Son-In-Law: The Story Of Peetie Wheatstraw & His Songs
ISBN: 0882862669

Charles H Kerr. 2003

Blue-singer, songwriter, piano and guitar player, William Bunch (1902-1941) was well-known as Peetie Wheatstraw, the Devil's Son-in-Law and the High Sheriff from Hell. Long recognized by connoisseurs as one of the most influential blues people of all time, his life and work are little known to the broad public. Blues scholar Paul Garon's important and abundantly illustrated study - drawing on his own extensive interviews with Wheatstraw's relatives, and fellow musicians - brings the exciting Whatstraw saga to life at last. With insight and imagination, Garon explores Peetie Wheatstraw's crucial role not only in blues history, but also in African American urban mythology, and - via a penetrating analysis of song lyrics - his appreciable contributions to blues poetry and to vernacular surrealism. Originally published in the UK in 1971, this substantially revised and expanded edition includes a mass of new information and images, as well as an updated bibliography, discography and index. Also included is a 24-track CD portraying Peetie at his best, with a bonus track by Harmon Ray, the previously unissued Xmas Blues!

What's The Use Of Walking If There's A Freight Train Going Your Way?: Black Hoboes & Their Songs
ISBN: 0882863061

Charles H Kerr. 2006

Another wonderful slice of political, cultural, and social history. The work is full of the lyrics, art, and photographs of people and their times.
“The music and poetry of black workers in motion - hoboing, hitchhiking, timbering, mining, railroading, loving, leaving, fighting back and searching for a new job, a new life and even a new world are brilliantly recorded and explained in this arresting collection.” -David Roediger
“Paul Garon has produced yet another masterpiece of cultural history. The stories and songs he gathers together in this remarkable book disrupt common notions of what we mean by ‘freedom’ when it comes to black folk. Hoboes represented a significant segment of the black working class, and their constant movements were both evidence of constraints and acts of freedom. And as he so eloquently demonstrates, the men and women who took to the road and their bards have much to teach us about America’s ‘bottom rail.’” -Robin D G Kelley


Awards

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