Blue Chip Stamp Guitar
by Sue Fagalde Lick
Blue Chip Stamp Guitar is a love story—about Sue and her guitar It starts with a cheap guitar the poet’s mother bought with Blue Chip stamps and continues through her life, outlasting jobs, marriages, and deaths. A guitar is just a wooden box with six strings strung from one end to another, but in the musician’s hands, it becomes music and magic, companion and comfort. These backstage poems describe the teenager dreaming of fame, the young adult dealing with sex and stage fright, and the seasoned performer lugging gear and singing through bad weather, hecklers, sore throats and sore fingers. At the beginning and the end, she plays alone, feeling the calluses on her fingertips as she sends music into the air. These poems will appeal to all music lovers, especially the musicians who share that special bond with their instruments.
Early Praise for Blue Chip Stamp Guitar:
Robert Frost states that the final poem in a book is the book itself, and this holds true for Sue Fagalde Lick’s book of poems where each poem is a story and the book itself comprises a story too of her early life as an emerging singer/songwriter, guitarist and performer. We follow her and her first guitar through hints of a short-lived first marriage, one or two stalled relationships with unworthy boyfriends and finally a longer, good marriage which ends tragically. Her guitar accompanies her throughout and may go out of tune or need new strings but it never fails her. These poems are accessible, unwavering, and painful in their honesty. There is no pretention or affectation in this work, just solid storytelling, and poetic craft at its best. Here is a rich life, bittersweet, at times vulnerable yet underneath is a quality of humility with fierce independence in the life and the poetry, but we also know this will not be the end of the story.
—Dave Mehler, editor of Triggerfish Critical Review, author of Roadworthy
In Blue Chip Stamp Guitar, Sue Fagalde Lick shares a love story between a woman and music that “sound[s] like fireworks on an ordinary night, / like ice cream sundaes and kisses that make you swoon.” We follow the “squeaky-voiced kid with the cheap guitar” as she matures into a love-worn woman who learns that “Fingers exposed,/easily wounded, / are hard to heal.” Her line “I returned, restrung, and tried again” speaks to her resilience in life and in music. This collection takes the reader into the “raw, unpolished edges, dust, and glue, / the underbelly of a cathedral,” of a life lived in pursuit of music and love finally found in Fred, the husband/roadie to whom the book is dedicated. By the end of this intimate collection, you’ll be singing, “Let’s play another memory.”
—Lacie Semenovich, author of Community, Not Market, and Legacies.
In this resonant collection, memory is music and reflection its instrument. We accompany a young girl through the epic arc of a lifetime in which her beloved guitar is witness, ballast, and protagonist. We are initiated into the great ache of desire and tenderness as each poem strums love and loss, sovereignty and transcendence through us. We see how the constants in life punctuate the evolution of our true music. The pretty voice deepens to an unexpected beauty. We pour it into the air, even when there is nothing left to give. We resurrect from the velvet case the ballast of memory. We conjure the self we have been as we sing the song we are becoming.
Sage Cohen, author of Writing the Life Poetic and Fierce on the Page
“Every song is new” says poet Sue Lick, and we lean in to listen as each piece in this collection sings of love and loss and exploration and becoming. In Blue Chip Stamp Guitar, Lick invites us into her long-term relationship with music, her varied relationships with men, with managers, with audiences and lovers and always, like a solid melody in the midst of all this counterpoint, her relationship with herself. Lick says, “I harmonize with my younger self,” and here, through writing both fearless and gentle, we receive the gift of a voice that “holds every song that I have lived.”
—Bethany Lee, author of The Breath Between and Etude for Belonging,
poetry editor of Untold Volumes
About the Author
Sue Fagalde Lick escaped life as a Silicon Valley journalist to write, sing, and wander the beaches and forests of the Oregon coast. Her publications include The Widow at the Piano: Poems by a Distracted Catholic, Gravel Road Ahead, and the forthcoming collection Dining Al Fresco with My Dog, along with poems in Cirque, Rattle, The MacGuffin, Sage Soup, Cloudbank, New Letters, The American Journal of Poetry, and other literary journals. In addition to performing both poetry and music as much as possible, Sue is a Catholic music minister, playing piano and guitar for Masses, funerals, potlucks, and other festivities. She travels with a notebook and sheet music in one hand and a guitar in the other and has learned that doesn’t leave much room in the trunk for clothing, strangers ask questions when you walk in with a guitar, and everything is better with music.
Learn more about Sue at https://www.suelick.com.