#BookReview: Ida: Searching for the Jazz Baby

So good to visit Liz’s review of Ida: Searchng for The Jazz Baby. A wonderful review with depth and texture to catch hold of.

How about the ‘Red Hot Mama’ performance by Ray Miller and the Orchestra? That’s a good get, Liz.

Pop over to Liz’s place and check out the review and her wonderful work.

Thanks again, Liz.

Elizabeth Gauffreau

My Review

Click cover to buy from Amazon.

Ida: Searching for the Jazz Baby by Australian poet Frank Prem is based on an intriguing premise: whether or not it’s possible to uncover the past life of someone who has lost her identity to madness or senility.

In this instance of lost identity, one of three women named Ida institutionalized in the Melbourne-Mayday Hills Asylum is rumored by a group of young  amateur nurse-detectives to be none other than Ida Pender, paramour of notorious Melbourne gangster Lesley Squizzy Taylor, who was killed in a gunfight  in 1927.

Ah, but which Ida is THE Ida, whom poet Prem later calls “my Ida”? Is she the one with  “spindle legs”  and  “hands / shaped / into claws // just about / to strangle you? (“ida spider (I knew her when)”) Is she the poor soul who squawks like a parrot until the nurses…

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Ida: Searching for The Jazz Baby – Liz’s review

Thank you Liz Gauffreau for a wonderful and deep review of Ida. Thinking about this review, I couldn't help but be aware that this kind of examination of the work allows me - as author - to better understand my own motivations in choosing and writing about the subject. I'm very grateful for that. Find … Continue reading Ida: Searching for The Jazz Baby – Liz’s review

drink with me (ruthie)

drink with me (ruthie) - 1920s mugshot - 09/11/2022 drink with mefriends cometake a drink the swinewill come shave yousoon enough drink with mewalkinga lifeon the streets singa loud songtothe road and drinkto the liceand the fleas andthe flies drinkto the stinkof each morning drinktill they comethenwe’ll sleepin clean beds but until thenlet’s drink upthis … Continue reading drink with me (ruthie)

The Jazz Baby progresses

I make life difficult for myself. I've reported previously that my submission to present papers at 2 conferences in different cities in th esame week were both accepted. The subject for one was the Ukraine war and the place of poetry in translating the unthinkable, while for the other it was my 'discovery' of Ida … Continue reading The Jazz Baby progresses

confused (yet right)

patricia it’s a lovely namefor a girl little pat and her grandmaloves herthough leslie thinksmaybeshe loves hertoo much they don’t get onso wellmy motherand leslie but he dotes . . .just doteson little pat sometimeswhen I look aroundand don’t reallyknowwho I amor whatorhow I came to behere I see little patand thinkI must have donesomethingright … Continue reading confused (yet right)

jobbing dancing (moving free)

schoolwas never any goodfor me I had to leave sowhen I was stillfifteenI left I workedthenat mrs palotta’smillinery shopin the centreway that wasmy first jobandI was learning thingsthat were important hatsare important and mrs palottaand the staff . . . they werewonderful I thought they werethe most important peoplein the world my friend there –the … Continue reading jobbing dancing (moving free)

they wear out their tires (then let me go)

it is strangeto read aboutmyself. . .in the newspapers I try notto look fir anyof theirattentions but leslieis a little bitfamous and I suppose they thinkthat writingabout meis a wayof writingabout himtoo they arrested meoncewhen I was just lookinginto a shop window at the dressesand clothes that was detectivemadin he had alreadyworn outa set of … Continue reading they wear out their tires (then let me go)

there is always the gramophone (I’ll show you)

I can’t reallysayhow it happened wejust metandsuited each othersomehow it wasat the palaiswhen I was dancingand I stillloveto dancewhenever lesliewill take me if I get to chooseit will bea dance hall or the pictures in the eveningif we don’t go outthere is alwaysthe gramophone hereI’ll show itto you ~

I’m ida (who are you)

Ida Pender 06/03/1922 (Jazz Baby collection 27/06/2021) ohI’m just a girlfrom elsternwick I was bornnear there -in brighton -soI haven’t moved aroundvery much I learned to dancewith miss lilliasandshe would have us allperformin publicto a performance listthat we practiced some of the girlssangbut I was alwaysmore interestedin moving aroundand feelinglike I was free when I … Continue reading I’m ida (who are you)