Basil King & A.B. Spellman

Basil King is a painter/poet, born in England before World War 2 and living in Brooklyn since 1968.  He attended Black Mountain College as a teenager and completed an apprenticeship as an abstract expressionist painter in San Francisco and New York. Since 1958 in San Francisco he has been involved with poets, producing covers and art for poetry books. He began to write himself in the 1980’s and now practices both arts daily. His books include Warp Spasm, Identity, mirage: a poem in 22 sections, 77 Beasts and, most recently Learning to Draw/A History. He has also contributed to various online poetry magazines including Big Bridge and Sugar Mule.  Libellum, Cy Gist, and others have published his chapbooksAn exhibition of his paintings, “The Green Man,” was presented at Poets House in New York in 2010.

A.B. Spellman is an author, poet, critic, and lecturer. He has published numerous books and articles on the arts, including Art Tatum: A Critical Biography (a chapbook), The Beautiful Days (poetry), and Four Lives in the Bebop Business, now available as Four Jazz Lives (University of Michigan Press).  His poetry collection, Things I Must Have Known, was recently published by Coffee House Press. Between 1975 and 2005, A.B. Spellman worked at the National Endowment for the Arts, first as the Director of the Expansion Arts Program and, for the last decade of his term at the NEA, as Deputy Chairman.  In recognition of Spellman’s commitment and service to jazz, the National Endowment for the Arts in 2005 named one of its prestigious Jazz Masters awards the A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy.