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A Romance in Rome . . .


Visiting the grave of the immortal Romantic poet John Keats, Hollywood smoothie Tom Jerome spies the Woman in the Azure Dress—the muse he’s been longing for.  But Viña Fumento is married to the mob and Jerome has his work cut out for him. Blues for the Muse is a hilarious meditation on life, love, and movie magic, all told in rhymes that go down smoother than a glass of Spumante.

Praise for Blues for the Muse

“With the grace of Keats—whose poetic presence gives this volume its focus and its lively force—Altman whips lusty and literate sonnets into a sweeping, scary, and sensational masterpiece.  Great, surprising fun!”

    – William Lanouette, author of Genius in the Shadows: A Biography of Leo Szilard, the Man Behind the Bomb; and The Triumph of the Amateurs: The Rise, Ruin, and Banishment of Professional Rowing in the Gilded Age


"What to do with Tom Jerome, that classic American on the make, edging past his prime with two basic urges intact: here and now? I laughed hard and even blushed a bit, but most of all I admired the cunning and wisdom of this enchanting new hero and his creator!”

     – Lee W. Doty, author of  Tidal Kin and Last Casualty

“Sonnets have packed a wallop in recent literature, a movement Stephen Altman’s dazzling sonnet sequence furthers with film-noir vengeance.  More than just a sexy tale of gangsters and femme fatales, Altman’s sonnets are serial love poems in the convicted spirit of Berryman’s Sonnets by John Berryman and the recent frank:sonnets by Dianne Seuss.”       – Ed Zahniser, Poet Laureate of Shepherdstown, West Virginia and author of Mall-hopping with the Great I AM and Confidence in Being

“As in any good film noir, our hero gets clunked on the head by love.  The catch?  His muse is fed up with playing the femme fatale for a bunch of Roman gangsters.  Like all the players in Blues for the Muse, she wants something more.  That's just what she gets, and so will you in this spritely, droll, and engrossing tale of romance gone hilariously wrong.”

     Sollace Mitchell, director of Call Me and Row Your Boat

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