Helpless Angels weaves several themes together: music’s impact on a life, expressed through memory; poems that are like songs; music found in or described through nature; poems that directly consider music’s power; and, as a counterpoint to how music carries us through life, how art — and each of us — deals with significant loss: the death of a loved one. Helpless Angels looks at a long-term development — the ubiquitousness of widespread personal access to music performed by others that began in the 1950s and has continued to expand ever since. The collection explores via the medium closest to music, poetry, and a number of the delightful or at least positive dimensions to this enormous change in the fabric of people’s everyday lives.
“The voice that delivers this material is a smooth, accessible voice that Wayman has grown into over such a long, rich career. Like a seasoned jazz saxophone player, Wayman leans back into the music he is creating because he has paid his dues: he has reached that point of grace in improvisation, a poise that takes years to acquire.” — John Lent, Arc Poetry Magazine, for Dirty Snow (2012)