Fire and Dust, a new work for voice, piano and fixed electronics with music by Stephen Vincent Casellas and text by me, will be premiered Saturday, July 25, 2020, at the NEO Voices Festival. The Festival runs Friday and Saturday nights on YouTube; one ticket covers both. You can read the lyrics here.
Get your tickets now to the NEO Voice Festival, being held online July 24-25, 2020, to hear the premiere performance of Stephen Vincent Casellas‘s settings of two my poems in his new work “Fire and Dust” for soprano, piano, and fixed electronics. Here is the text:
“Isolation and Old Observance”
Mind your fire at home,
so come May it will burn in the fields.
Watch for the dawn through the window,
as the Bede searched for her in his books.
Make three joyful leaps alone,
to have dancing together this summer.
Apart on the land, feed the hares their crops,
apples in sun on the cross-quarter day.
under artfully arranged brambles bodies
each creates cathedrals of ribs where
the grubs may take communion,
where each offers vertebral apartments
for beetles, side by side by side,
or feeds the ever-growing rosebush
beneath, tunneling, building, knocking down
like the sea to sandcastles the once-cat
feeding the ever-growing rosebush
gone-hound enriching the violets and weeds
feeding the ever-growing rosebush
I’ve just contributed a guest post to Sonia Pertsinidis’s fabulous blog, Aesop’s Fox. Read about my research into Greek and myth for my forthcoming novella-in-verse, Protectress (Unsolicited Press, 2021), imagining sisterhood among mythical figures, and more here.
The wonderful Kristen M. Turner invited me to talk about Music for the Kingdom of Shadows: Cinema Accompaniment in the Age of Spiritualism in this new podcast episode from the New Books Network! You can read the book itself online or download it as a PDF for free and learn more about this fascinating topic.
Today the Fontainebleau Associations held a lovely Zoom reunion. It was really nice to see so many people I knew, who I’d met as students or faculty or when I was doing research on and interviews for my history of the Conservatoire Américain. That book, The Conservatoire Américain: a History, was published by Scarecrow Press in 2007 and is now available as a free download from Humanities Commons CORE.
Tiffany Ng is one of the world’s top carillonists in addition to being an excellent scholar and teacher. She has rung bells old and new, commissioned new music for carillons, and teaches at the University of Michigan, where she’s developing all sorts of new resources for carillonists. She’s a strong advocate for making sure that works by minority composers are performed, and has recently written two guides for helping performers and instructors program more diverse composers. Check out her outstanding (and open access!) “International Bibliography of Carillon Music by Women, Nonbinary, and Transgender Composers” and her (also open access) annotated bibliography of African American carillon music (originally published in the journal GCNA Bulletin).
If you’d like to perform the piece, you can buy a digital download (in multiple keys, even!) from Lisa’s site. I’d love for this to become part of singers’ repertoires.
There have been a plethora of articles and posts online about Shakespeare writing King Lear and other plays during an outbreak of plague in London in 1606. These pieces of writing range from the (supposedly) inspirational to the historical, and can be found to suit every outlook–those who think this period should be used to create or learn or better ourselves, those who push back at that notion, those who are just exhausted by it all.
My poem “Rewriting King Lear in a Time of Pandemic” is a response to all of these writings and ideas, and is published today by TEJASCOVIDO, an extraordinary poetry project run by Laurence Musgrove, professor of English at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas, who has done a great service to readers and writers seeking to explore and discuss and dramatize and take stock of out different experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic.