for unaccompanied choir (ssaattbb)

written for the BBC Singers

duration: ca. 6 minutes

The text of this work includes two settings of poems by William Carlos Williams, as well as names of all the poets he translated during his lifetime. The two poems are "Autumn" (1937) and "Sonnet in search of an Author" (1962). In the center of the work, the names of the poets intermingle with fragments from the two poems in a dream-like fantasy. At the close of the work the names of all the poets are heard simultaneously, with the name ‘William Carlos Williams’ embedded in a duet between Alto II and Tenor I.

Autumn (1937)

A stand of people
by an open

grave underneath
the heavy leaves

the cut and fill

for the new road

an old man
on his knees

reaps a basket-
ful of

matted grasses for
his goats.

Sonnet in search of an Author (1962)

Nude bodies like peeled logs
sometimes give off a sweetest
odor, man and woman

under the trees in full excess
matching the cushion of

aromatic pine-drift fallen
threaded with the trailing woodbine
a sonnet might be made of it

Might be made of it! odor of excess
odor of pine needles, odor of
peeled logs, odor of no odor
other than trailing woodbine that

has no odor, odor of a nude woman
sometimes, odor of a man.


The Names of the Poets:

Mexican: Mariano Del Alcazar, Lupercio de Argensola, Alí Chumacero, Alvaro Figueredo, Miguel Hernández, Rafael Beltran Logrono, Luis Palés Matos, Pablo Nerud, Silvina Ocampo, Nicanor Parra, Octavio Paz

French: Nicolas Calas, René Char, Paul Éluard, Yvan Goll

Chinese: Wang Ch’ang-Ling, Wang Chien, Ho Chih-Chang, Liu Chung-Yuan, Tu Fu, Meng Hao-Jan, Ping Hsin, Tsang K’o-Chia, Kuo Mo-Jo, Li Po, Mao Tse-Tung, Li Ts’un-Hsu, Wang Wei, Cho Wen-Chun, Li Yu

Greek: Sappho