One’s Friends Are Either…Or (this is NOT in my new book A Sense Of The Ridiculous)


One’s friends

Are either sick or dying,

Husbands leaving for

A younger woman, younger man,

Wives whose lives outlive them both.

Faces un-adorable,

Phases unavoidable,

Arrows point to trends and ends,

One’s self becoming old.


One’s Friends Are Either…Or 6.30.2015

Birth, Death & In Between II, Circling Round Aging;

Arlene Corwin




Z=The Most Ridiculous Of All (a sample page of A Sense Of The Ridiculous)

Below is a sample of my newest book A Sense Of The Ridiculous (out in a month).   Contact me or Xlibris for anything you want to say or know. I’m so happy to hear from you.


Z=The Most Ridiculous Of All

The most ridiculous of all –

Let’s see,

What can it be?

Death. Yes, death.

It’s farcical,

The disappearing

A distortion

Of the reason for


Being here .

The Most Ridiculous Of All 6.28.2015

Birth, Death & In Between II; A Sense Of The Ridiculous;

Arlene Corwin

The Mental Institutions Of The Mind

This is a sample from my new book A Sense Of The Ridiculous (XLibris)

Walls we can split at a stroke.

We don’t. I don’t. You don’t.

Walls of attitudes and limitations

We go round inside their frame,

Using up a precious time.

All at once we say it isn’t fun this way –

In fact, it’s downright suffering.

“So, to hell with what I lost,

My ignorance, the mangled cost;

My big mistakes and jangled sleep,

Nights counting sheep;”

The replicas of outlived choices.

There’s big N Now, – memories and voices

From a new Now-know,

While past is working out and through,

Loss is just a thing to learn by,

Not to cry

For, everything acquired/lost

Is tossed into the pot of change.

Gone is gone

And holding on to “gone”s inane.

To not reflect on what we gain

Is to reject the medicine.


The Mental Institution Of The Mind 11.21.2002 (revised 6.27.2015)

A Sense Of The Ridiculous; Nature Of & In Reality; Definitely Didactic;

Arlene Corwin




Every Time I Think Of You

Every time I think of you,

Part of the brain ignites,

Set light, a sparkling synapse firework –

And then I know I’m your image

– ‘Cept for toes and crotch and such,

And I don’t need to have you as a crutch,

Since you and I are one. And so,

I stick to me myself

Like glue

Because I’m you.

Every Time I Think Of You 6.18.2015

God Book II; To The Child Mystic II;

Arlene Corwin

People Ask: How I Accomplish What I Accomplish

People Ask: How Do I Accomplish What I Accomplish

I can only accomplish what I do because I have time. Time is the key. I can play with it, use it as I will: sit in the bath for an hour with a paper scrap and write, dry my hair or dishes and think about an idea, follow it up.

I can make no appointments, zero obligations to the outside world — unless I want them. My selections dance around in atoms. Life is my GPS.

Going nowhere, with no pointer, still I seem to accomplish.

June 17,2015


Updated Arlene’s Open-Ended Biography as of December 2015


Arlene Corwin’s Open-Ended Biography

(10.3.2007 updated 10.24.2007 updated 1.3.2008; updated December 15, 2009, October 2010, June 2015, December 26, 2015

Arlene Corwin (born Arlene Faith Nover) is an American jazz singer and pianist, poet, teacher and practitioner of Yoga. Born November 8, 1934 in the Williamsburg Maternity Hospital, Brooklyn, New York. She has two children. Jonathan Eric Corwin (born July 24. 1956 and) Jennifer Nover Council (born February 2, 1964). Mother Margy Lillian (born Brown). Father Albert S. Nover. Both were hairdressers, owning a beauty salon together. Everyone was musical on both sides of the family. Mother sang, could play some piano. Father was a gifted sculptor and wood carver, played a little harmonica and mandolin. The family is Jewish.

Early Life

Started studying piano age 8. Studied voice at the famous 1650 Broadway with ‘coach’ Matty Levine. Did a recording at aged 10 in Nola Studios. (The record has since disappeared) At 12 she started studying harp with Myer Rosen (Julliard and NBC Orchestra) and the occasional piano lesson with an NBC pianist who taught her how to read chord changes, seeing at once that she was not interested in learning classical piano.

As a child she had already sung at weddings, bar mitzvahs and for the USO, raising United States bonds for the war effort. At 13, with a boyfriend who played the saxophone and who listened to Symphony Sid, (jazz disc jockey whose late night show originated from Birdland), she was awakened to jazz, listening to the late night show “under my blanket”. “A turning point”, she says. (Well before “Lullaby of Birdland” was put to words Arlene had written a lyric of her own – a lyric she still sings today) At 14,she was playing for a dancing school once a week. Then she got an accidental job (“slipping in on a banana peel when the singer got sick”) in a Brooklyn nightclub singing with a jazz trio backup. “Mom and dad chaperoned, of course”.


At 17, she began to sing regularly when again, out of the blue, an agent rang offering a job for a hundred dollars a week to play at the Mayflower Hotel in Manhattan. It was a restaurant owned by Bob Olin, a former light heavyweight world champion. “I was so naïve I played the whole evening without ever taking a break. Who knew about breaks? Why they kept me I’ve no idea.” But they did and the steady salary of $100.00 a week (which she gave directly to her mother, any other choice never occurring to her) and the experience of having to make a varied program led to her singing to the piano, and eventually to playing to the singing. At this time she was still in high school as attending the prestigious High School of Music & Art as a harpist. She graduated from Music & Art getting a scholarship to Hofstra College  as a music major.

Then in 1952, while still at Hofstra College (now university), she was playing on the weekends in a Hempstead, Long Island nightclub-restaurant when Slim Gaillard, who’d come to see Jack Teagarden (also working there) began to take notice of her. He started showing up regularly. There he met Arlene’s mother Margy, and the two eventually opened a jazz nightclub, the first to cater to blacks and whites. It was called The Turf and it, like Birdland had its own radio show, for which Arlene wrote the theme song “The Slim Gaillard Show”. Now she was standing as well as sitting, getting a chance to sit in and sing as often as she chose. The die was cast. It was jazz, cool jazz.

Early Influences

In June,1954, on the day she ought to have been attending her college graduation, she married Bob Corwin, a 21-year-old jazz pianist with the Don Elliot Quartet. Because Bob toured, Arlene began her new stage of education: touring with and listening to Don’s group while they played on the same bill as the jazz greats of the 50’s. There was Helen Merrill at George Wein’s Storyville in Boston, Terry Gibbs and Illinois Jacquet in Detroit, Bill Evans, Cy Coleman, Bernard Peiffer, Tal Farlowe Johnny Smith John Mehagan and Billy Taylor (who had also performed at the Turf) at the sophisticated Composer owned by jazz lover and connoiseur Willie Short in Manhattan. ” It was also a chance to see and listen to other singers of the day. New York was marvelous in those days. I saw Peggy Lee at Basin Street, became friends with Blossom Dearie at Trudy’s in the village, Oscar Peterson, Marian McPartland at the Hickory House, Sheila Jordan, Morgana King. It was THE university for me. I was introduced to and mentored by Tony Fruscella, the tragic, unsung genius of the trumpet, who I took on my gigs, but to whom I was actually the apprentice’ – and through Tony to Morgana King and Beverly Getz, the talented [and equally tragic] wife of Stan Getz. I feel blessed to have experienced jazz at that time. The guys would gossip about who played ‘behind’ or ‘ahead’ of the beat, bass lines, good changes, bad changes. No Music & Art or Hofstra did that. I learned almost the whole of what is now called The

American Songbook. And I, I was sounding like Sarah Vaughn with a little voice.”

Hanging Around Manhattan; Not This, Not That…

Living in New York, and looking for a niche she spent time, as other musicians did, at the Musicians Union Local 802 or Charlie’s Tavern where jobs could show up. In this way, there were weeks and weekends away with big bands: Claude Thornhill, Larry Sonn as well as Tommy Dorsey’s Orchestra under the leadership of Warren Covington.

“When you hang around New York all kinds of opportunities show up”. And so, in 1959 she got a leading role in a B film called “Jukebox Racket’, wrote the score for another B film called, at the time “She Should Have Stayed In Bed”, later to be called ‘1,000 Shapes Of A Female: see IDMB (the company, called Exploit Films was owned by Errol Flynn “dignified, tall, big in every way, veins on his face, but exuding old world charm” He was quite, quite overwhelming.”

Then there was a bit part in John Cassavetes “Shadows”, followed by the lead in what has become a cult ‘beat’ musical called “The Nervous Set” by Fran and Jay Landesman where she introduced the now-standards “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most” and “Ballad Of The Sad Young Men“, both subsequently recorded by Ella Fitzgerald, Shirley Bassey and countless major artists. She studied acting with Joshua Shelley. “It was a time to find out who and what I was. “I was definitely not an actress. I was too introverted and none of those clothes fit”.

More Influences and more Not This, Not That…

In 1959 she met Johnny Burke (Burke & Van Heusen) who took her under his wing, taking her to Hollywood to demonstrate his show “Donnybrook” for Rosalind Russell and husband, producer Frederick Brisson.   “It was a glitzy time. I stayed at Bob Hope’s house in Palm Springs, met Frank Sinatra and his then fiancée Juliet Prowse, Jerry Lewis, Marlene Dietrich, had my own suite in Las Vegas , traveled first class, but was so introverted I always kept to myself, never saying much, definitely not participating in any of these scenes. Those clothes didn’t fit either.”

All the while she returned to the intimacy of New York supper clubs. They were the bottom line, singing and playing.

It was during the supper club period, she met Al Weissman who became her manager. She was signed to the Joe Glazer Agency and began to tour with her own trio. “Wherever I went they’d say, “You know, there’s just been a girl here who sounds like you. Her name was Barbra something. I suppose we had Brooklyn Jewishness in common. ” (She too was signed with Glazer.)

Although published by Frank Publishing (owned by composer Frank Loesser) years later she asked for the songs back because “nothing happened.” “It was a period of promise, a period I was not equipped to fulfill”.


In 1962 it was back to Hollywood with Al Weissman and high hopes. “I had some jobs, but never in my genre.” Back to New York, a little jaunt of songwriting with singer Dick Haymes, a short marriage of four months to Richard Robin Palmer.

Greece, Lebanon, Greece, Oxford – Yoga & Jazz

In 1966, by way of Paris, Greece (where she and husband Jim Council were neighbors with Leonard Cohen and Marianne) and Lebanon, “where I actually managed to do some television, singing jazz”, she settled in Oxford, England for the next 18 years. Starting in 1969 and all during the 70’s fate gave a push to the yoga side of things and Arlene was teaching yoga classes in hospitals, a doctor’s office (for hyper-tense, cardiac and overweight men), teaching regularly at IBM conferences. She gave demonstrations, lectured all over England for the Women’s Institute, wrote articles on posed, introducing yoga anyplace she could. “I lectured and demonstrated in what must have been a hundred Women’s Institutes, posed and wrote for one of the very first health magazines called Health & Fitness, (summer issue 1982), posed for another book called The New Manual of Yoga by Karen Ross (1973) wrote articles on nutrition, had a weekly radio spot on a little radio show for BBB Oxford actually doing yoga on radio while describing each pose with a microphone up my nose, made a cassette on meditation called This Is Meditation – “it was a lot of yoga, with yoga taking half the time and singing the other half”.)

In 1972 she was voted Best Jazz Singer in the Midlands. She appeared at Ronnie Scott’s three times, did 3 television shows, a late night BBC jazz show called “In The Cool Of The Evening”, radio for BBC overseas, was invited over to Amsterdam to do Dutch radio, sang at universities around England, (“one night opposite Pink Floyd, “who were just starting out, I suppose”) and performed at the American air bases. She appeared several times at The Stables in Wavendon (run by John Dankworth and Cleo Laine, while at the same time giving weekly yoga lessons to a group there, (which included Dame Cleo – “a wonderful yogin”). The Wavendon All-Music Plan, later known simply as WAP “was the most stimulating and original enterprise I’ve ever encountered, pairing all kinds of musical genre. I even played on the same bill as Vladimir Ashkenazy.”

1980s to now.

In 1983 she once again ran into Slim Gaillard – this time in London. He asked her to appear on a television show he was producing that was to star himself, Kai Winding and Wayne Shorter. It was the last appearance she ever made in England. In 1984, finding Sweden fertile ground for singer/pianists, and meeting and falling in love with Kent Anderson, she moved to Sweden where she lives until today, performing, and contributing regularly for Elderwomanspace, Elder Storytelling Place, Jerry Jazz Musician, The Jewish Literary Journal, and her own blog site Arlene Corwin Poetry.

Still growing, still changing

2009 and 25 years later, aged 75: a cd of her own songs for Imogen Records produced by George Reece, a concert of Johnny Mercer to commemorate his 100th birthday, poetry grown to 3,000 poems (see Arlene Corwin

2010 landmark:  First published books of poetry, “Circling Round Time“, “To The Child Mystic”.

2010-11   The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative, Birth, Death & In Between.

2012 More books!  Circling Round Woman; Circling Round Our Times, Our Culture; Circling Round Vanity: Vaguely About Music, Love Relationships Circling Round Eros + 2.  Published by Xlibris.

2013-2014-2015 Circling Round Yoga, Science, War & Cats; Circling Round Nature; God Book; A Sense Of The Ridiculous.

Music career took an upswing with performances and concerts – an intimate series of composer-of-the-month programs based on the best of American popular composers.

Arlene Corwin is, as at this writing teaching yoga and performing. 80 years of age.

As of December 26, 2015, new book on the way., the tentative title of which is “A Year Of 2015” – 190 pages or so of poetry, small observational pieces and as yet to be decided.



Cat Intelligence or Watching Albert


If someone gave me food each day,

And there was no one else to do it,

I would hang around that guy – and stay.

There isn’t much to separate us.


If someone stroked me,

Giving small massages while I sat upon his knee,

AND provided food when there was no one else to do it,

What would you do? Too!

Who needs foie gras?

Fire stoked, hair brushed, back stroked,

Mouth fed?

Would you not be devoted?

Scrounging never,

Lounging on a cushioned lap,

Secure that when the nap was over

You could rove about wherever,

Play and never

Forced to work a day –

I call that IQ

‘High Q’ –

Very high!


Cat Intelligence 6.10.2015

Cat Book II;

Arlene Corwin





I’m pleased that there are those

That question why a certain house

Gets flooded while the house next door stays dry.

Unpredictability.  Factors, causes, reasons why;

Component circumstance, dynamic;

Here we see the butterfly, effect rhapsodic.

Is there accident and fortune’s hand at all –

Foreseeable, predictable

In some vague laws unseen?

Shapes between,

Shaping patterns and connections

In coincidence?

What is this dance of risk and chance?

Why is there chance at all?

Uncertainty could disappear

If everything was measurable (but it ain’t).

Adorable and quaint,

But doubts and things that aren’t clear are

Always here.


The ordinary me has limits.

Ordinary me can never see

The butterfly effect, the tiny

Waves that make up happenings;

The subatomic world that keeps on changing hungrily,

Lazily, chaotically, eternally.

Probable and possible – which is which –

Questions in a witch’s brew, their secret prank.

For the ordinary you and me.

I think it’s safe to say today there is no certainty.

And if there is, it’s in God’s databank.


Certainty 2.27.2014

Circling Round Science II; God Book II; Circling Round Reality;

Arlene Corwin




World Famous & Legendary

World Famous & Legendary


Seen through

The eyes

Of 80 years

That do not recognize

One name.

The claim: ‘World famous ‘, ‘Legendary”;

Words that play around with fame.


I read today, “He played with Zappa.”

Should I clap? Where on the map

Is Zappa? Pap,

It’s pap to me,

This ‘famous/legendary’ crap

I’m reading daily.


How long is a piece of string?

How long is eternal fame?

Both abstractions; guess, dream, trap.

A Zappa of whom

Our descendant’s offspring

Will not have a clue,

Fame and legend being

The illusion.


World Famous & Legendary 6.6.2015

Circling Round Reality;

Arlene Corwin



The Yoga Teacher

The yoga teacher does not teach contortive poses.

Yoga teacher teaches focus,

Broadening of consciousness,

Being in the center

Of whatever…

Ligament or cartilage, toe or nail,

Throat or stomach – tissues all.

Not a guru to be worshipped, but a mortal

With as much to learn as any pupil.

Incomplete in ways not bared,

Not visible but always there,

The yoga teacher gives out all she* knows.

Sharp eyed, observant,

Ever interested in what goes on

In every someone,

It’s her mission.

Always seeking options and alternatives,

Broad-minded and accepting,

Serious with humor, humorous but serious,

Yoga teacher knows that every

student’s body is unique,

A peek into a universe

Of ever changing promise.

* of course she and her are he and him also.

The Yoga Teacher 6.5.2015

Circling Round Yoga II;

Arlene Corwin

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