Robinson “Thelonious Sphere Monk” 1982
Jerome Robinson, a visual artist, poet, and president of the Wheels of Soul motorcycle group until his death in 2003, eulogizes legendary Black jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk in this 1982 broadside (a one-sided work printed on a large piece of paper). Broadsides often include illustrations; this poem incorporates an image of Monk at his piano behind the text.
Robinson was based in West Philly, where Knight lived at the time and frequently hosted sessions of the Free Peoples' Poetry Workshop. Like Knight, Robinson places himself within the broadside in the piece’s dedication: “To Brother Knight who put poetry in my reach.” Robinson was in community with Knight through their friendship and proximity living in West Philly, but was also in community with Knight through art. Robinson draws in Knight’s concept of the universality of feelings in this poem: he utilizes his grief, his awe, his community interactions like friendship, and his witness in creating and publishing this broadside.