Winners Have Yet to Be Announced
A Song for Donny Hathaway

Poems by Ed Pavlic

A deft and daring imagining of the turbulence in a gifted musician's life and music


"Ed Pavlic shapes the ineffable (some call it Duende, some call it Soul) into a language haunting the borders of the sayable and unsayable, the sung and unsung. He casts Hathaway as Orpheus searching 'for an opening between need and can't have and have and can't need.' Winners Have Yet to Be Announced is a meditation on our own between-ness: our wish to be rooted pulling against our wish to transcend. It is a visionary book."
—Terrance Hayes, author of Wind in a Box

"To capture the monumental paradoxes and prismatic genius of Donny Hathaway, one must have an epic imagination and a sense of language that flames in poetry toward transcendent truth. Ed Pavlic rises to the task admirably. Winners Have Yet to Be Announced is a book of breathtaking literary and intellectual invention, a searing, soulful exploration of the songs and silences 'and the unforgiving pains and desperations, and the demons and disharmonies too' that tracked Hathaway into sonic immortality. Finally Hathaway's musical and moral legacy is matched with a metaphoric intensity that honors the master's splendidly unique creativity."
—Michael Eric Dyson, author of Know What I Mean?: Reflections on Hip Hop

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This moving collection of prose poems about seventies soul singer Donny Hathaway presents a complex view of a gifted artist through imagined conversations and interviews that convey the voices, surroundings, and clashing dimensions of Hathaway's life.

Among mainstream audiences Hathaway is perhaps best known either as the syrupy voice singing with Roberta Flack in "Where Is the Love" or for his shocking death—he was found dead beneath the open thirteenth-story window of his New York hotel room in 1979 at the age of thirty-three. Less well known are the depth of his classical and gospel training, his wide-ranging intellectual interests, and the respect his musical knowledge, talent, and versatility commanded from collaborators like Curtis Mayfield and Aretha Franklin. Meanwhile, among listeners with special affinity for soul music of the 1970s, even almost thirty years after his death, no voice burns with the intensity of Hathaway's own in the great solo ballads and freedom songs such as "A Song for You," "Giving Up," "Someday We'll All Be Free," and "To Be Young, Gifted, and Black."

Winners Have Yet to Be Announced pushes poetry toward the rich characterization and depth of a novel. Yet it is the capacity of poetic language that allows the book to examine Donny Hathaway's vivid and remarkable life without attempting to resolve the mysteries within which he lived and created and sang.

Page count: 208 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $24.95

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Ed Pavlic is associate professor of English and director of the MFA/PhD program in creative writing at the University of Georgia. His previous books of poems are Labors Lost Left Unfinished and Paraph of Bone & Other Kinds of Blue, which was selected by Adrienne Rich for the American Poetry Review / Honickman First Book Prize. He has also published a scholarly work, Crossroads Modernism, on African American literary culture.