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Bill Minor William Minor, Writer...Painting, "Goat Pan and Tree"

Bill has a new book!



Available now on Amazon.com


On Friday January 11, The Works Bookstore in Pacific Grove Presents:
A Book Launch Party—with Live Music



Bill Minor’s New Book—with Music by Bill on Piano, Vocalist Jaqui Hope, and Bassist Heath Proskin

Come enjoy the story--set to music—of a boy who grows up outside of Detroit, Michigan, and just wants to play jazz and ice hockey and maybe find a girlfriend, but is inundated with tales of illustrious ancestors—with the implication that he has much to “live up to.” The book tells the full story of meaningful adventures and discoveries on the Way to maturity, and does so in lucid, playful, purposeful prose—suggesting that we are all linked to one another, to all that surrounds us, as members of an extended family we may eventually learn to love.

Friday, January 11, 2013 at 7:30 PM; $15; 667 Lighthouse Avenue, Pacific Grove, CA

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Take a look and listen to Bill talking about The Inherited Heart: An American Memoir and other matters with host Mark Baer on the television program “Your Town”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuasLG8JU5U

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Testimonials for The Inherited Heart: An American Memoir:

Like the family it celebrates, The Inherited Heart is a bold and fascinating book. William Minor is a charming and endlessly generous chronicler, and his love for these ghosts from his past is truly contagious. Every page is an irresistible trip back in time.”

Christopher Hebert, author of The Boiling Season

What makes Bill Minor’s memoir a page-turner is its steady, authentic wisdom. Minor’s narrative is guided by an aesthetic of experience, in which peril and risk inform the maturing self. Raised in what he calls lovingly ‘a house of metaphor,’ Minor skillfully combines the hard-knocks world of boxing with the ‘robbed-time’ effects of jazz, to tease euphoria and joy out of pain and loss. This book is a shining gift to a culture adrift in affect and hungry for meaning.”

spacer1Dustin Beall Smith, author of Key Grip

“When one reads a book by Bill Minor, the stories themselves are as colorful and fascinating as the way he writes. His command of the English language mixes together the universal with the esoteric, the witty with the insightful. The author’s storytelling in The Inherited Heart is a consistent delight, filled with original personalities, surprising twists and turns, and humanity. His tales about growing up and discovering and savoring the mysteries of life are so detailed and vivid that they are well worth reading several times.”

spacer1Scott Yanow, author of ten books on jazz including The Jazz Singers andJazz On Film

“In a not-so-dark or smoky lounge, a white-haired and bearded, hipster-looking pianist belted out stories as glorious as the sounds bouncing from the keys. After reading Bill Minor’s The Inherited Heart, I discovered it wasn’t the beer we’d been drinking that had done the talking. In this memoir, Minor reveals these succulent and surprising strings of history by weaving a colorful and intricate tapestry of his past.”

spacer1 Dan Linehan, author and poet

“Deny it as one may, our hearts are part and parcel of our lineage. As Bill's title suggests, the emphasis here is on heart and how one is formed by ‘ghosts,’ one's brethren who, over time, one learns to acknowledge and affirm if not embrace. At once a memoir and a meditation, The Inherited Heart traces Bill Minor's family history back to 17th Century America, and the author, distinguished poet, painter, musician and storyteller, does justice to a cast of characters that includes Thomas Trowbridge (b. 1590, ‘the first of his family to come to America’) and his descendants. This is a wonderfully rich, deeply moving and evocative family saga--one of the most insightful and humorous I have read.”

spacer1--Robert Sward, author of New & Selected Poems, 1957-2011

“Bill Minor is a writer, teacher, musician, poet, and producer. He brings all of this to The Inherited Heart: An American Memoir. He bravely explores the good and bad of over 400 years of family history – one ancestor who may have captained a ship that carried slaves, and another who fought for their emancipation—and he is also humble. That his family knew Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, General Ulysses Grant, Mark Twain and Walt Whitman gets buried beneath his determination to tell the whole story … In some ways this book speaks with two voices: one to people like me who are fascinated with the sweep of history seen through the eyes of the everyman who happens to be close to the events that shape history.  The other voice speaks to his children and their children and their children yet unborn.  This voice waits patiently to be discovered many decades from now. For these generations of his family yet to come, finding this book will be discovering a treasure.”

spacer1 Robert Danziger, author of A Funny Thing Happened  on the Way  to Energy Independence

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William Minor was originally trained as a visual artist (Pratt Institute and UC Berkeley), and has exhibited woodcut prints and paintings at the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, the Oklahoma Printmakers Society, the UC Berkeley Kroeber Gallery, the University of Illinois, and the Smithsonian Institution.

Attracted by the "multimedia" work of William Blake, e.e. cummings, Kenneth Patchen and Shiko Munakata, (and the voice of Dylan Thomas), he began to write poetry forty-four years ago (as a graduate student in Language Arts at San Francisco State), producing his first book containing poems and prints, Pacific Grove, in 1974. Bill has, since that time, published five more books of poetry:

His poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies--Poems from Hawaii (The Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts), New Poetry Out of Wisconsin, Quarry West: Poets and Writers of the Monterey Bay, and The Anthology of Monterey Bay Poets 2004--along with short fiction in Best Little Magazine Fiction (NYU Press) and The Colorado Quarterly Centennial Edition. A one-act play, Contacts, was performed at Monterey Peninsula College and then published in The Bellingham Review. A memoir, "On the Nature of Literary Friendship: Paul Oehler," appears on Web del Sol.

Bill Minor at Piano

A jazz writer with over 150 articles to his credit--Down Beat, Jazz Times, Modern Drummer, Jazz Notes, Coda (Canada), Swing Journal (Japan), Jazz Forum (Poland), The Christian Science Monitor, The Massachusetts Review, West--Bill has also published three books on music:

His jazz writing has also appeared online: jazzhouse.org, jazzinstituteofchicago.org, jazzwest.com, kyotojournal.org/10,000things.

Bill has read his own work in several genres (including translations from Modern Greek, Russian and Japanese) and discussed jazz on a number of radio stations, including KRML (Carmel, CA), KAZU (Pacific Grove, CA), KIDD (Magic 63, Monterey, CA), KUSP (Santa Cruz, CA), KJAZ (San Francisco, CA), KCSM (San Mateo, CA), KKUP (Cupertino, CA), KJAZZ (Long Beach, CA), KSDS (San Diego, CA), WBGO (Newark, NJ), WHRB (Harvard Radio), NPR ("In Search of Soviet Jazz: Bill Minor's 1990 Summer Odyssey"), VOA (Voice of America, Washington D.C.), and CNN (on the Monterey Jazz Festival).

Bill Minor spent thirty-two years as an educator at the University of Hawaii (1963-1965), Wisconsin State University-Whitewater (1966-1971), and Monterey Peninsula College (1971-1996); and taught every humanities-related course from Creative Writing to American Humor and Comedy to Soviet Russian Literature.

A professional musician since the age of sixteen (piano, drums, tenor guitar, vocals), Bill has released three CDs : the first Bill Minor & Friends: For Women Missing or Dead, Poems Set to Music, the second (spoken word and original music) Mortality Suite. A CD Release Party performance of Mortality Suite (featuring Bill on piano, Heath Proskin on bass, Richard Mayer on flute, and actor Taelen Thomas as "voice") can be found at: Live Networks. This performance may also be found and downloaded at Vimeo. Eight poems from this CD (with MP3 readings, original music and art work, and Bill on piano) can be found on Beau Blue Presents: Bill Minor's Mortality Suite: A Broadside of Jazz Riffs along with a Flash Animation reading of "Dreaming Sandra Bullock," in The Green Room section of Blue's Cruzio Cafe.

Bill has a third, and new CD, available: Love Letters of Lynchburg--work commissioned and distributed by the Historic Sandusky Foundation of Lynchburg, Virginia. This spoken word/original music CD features an exchange of letters between Charles Minor Blackford (Bill's great grandfather's first cousin's son) and his remarkable wife Susan throughout the Civil War. The commission included preparing a voice script (from two published volumes of letters exchanged) and an original score of music to serve as background. The CD features actors Taelen Thomas and Kathryn Petruccelli (as Charles and Susan) and music provided by Bill (piano), Heath Proskin (bass) and Richard Mayer (flute). A CD Release Party was held at the Pacific Grove Art Center in Pacific Grove, California on August 15, 2010--an event that included a full performance of the work by the complete CD "cast." Three subsequent performances have taken place (for Park Lane, Monterey Peninsula College Gentrain Society, and Salinas Woman’s Club)—with more planned for the future.

Bill has posted several segments of performances of other work on YouTube. The following are now available:

Bill Minor's latest published work is The Inherited Heart: An American Memoir (Park Place Publications, 2012). Previous to this he published a novel, Trek: Lips, Sunny, Pecker and Me (Park Place Publications, October 2007), for which he received the 1999 best "First Chapter of a Novel" award from the Friends of the Sacramento Public Library and Focus on Writers Committee. He has completed an hundred tanka cycle called “The Delights of Age,” a poetry collection “Love Songs: Secular & Sacred: New & Selected Poems, 1960-2013” and is at work on a sequel to The Inherited Heart: An American Memoir tentatively entitled “Going Solo.”


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