Elvis Presley’s Hips & Mick Jagger’s Lips


Elvis Presley’s Hips & Mick Jagger’s Lips, Anaphora Literary Press 82 pages ISBN: 978-1937536367 $15

Selected Reviews:

Review by Grace Cavalieri in the Independent Washington Review of Books

Review by Adam Petrash in Sundog Lit 

Review by Melissa Fry Beasley in Galatea Resurrects 

Sample poem:


Doo-wop first appears on wax in 1954—Never, sung by Carlyle Dundee and the Dundees from LA. Later, everyone thinks: street corners, tracks and tunnels, subway platforms in the Northeast and industrial Midwest. Group harmony joins doo-wop with sh-boom and oop-shoop to create a variant on the hard doo and soft wah of doo-wah. There’s blended second tenor and baritone; a child-castrato-falsetto; bass on the bottom end, imitating instruments; melisma-lengthened words as in gospel—o-o-only you—the lyrical convulsions and sometime heavy background beats with dialectical four-chord progressions. The usual disillusionment and love expressed in the lyrics, nonsense syllables and no-nonsense promise and desire, crest in the slowed-down sounds of the harmonies, like the Flamingos’ remake of Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler’s I Only Have Eyes For You. The last true doo-wop hit is Lover’s Island by The Blue Jays, featuring Leon Peels (one of many groups named after birds), which peaks at number 31 on Billboard in 1961. You’re Gonna Cry is on the flip side and, years later, when it’s an oldie, but new to me, I do cry, as always follows a trip to Lover’s Island, despite the promise of never—a broken promise, I know, of a place where love never grows old.

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