Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A letter from Alice Fulton ain't odious

I have been carrying on here recently about coming up with an idea for a poetry score while drinking chocolat at a brasserie in Paris that shares a namesake with my hometown, St. Louis.

This is all so impressive to me, because I was born and raised without much money in a dismal little steel town in the Midwest. The first time I crossed the ocean, it was to board a U.S. Navy helo carrier. I was anything but "to the manner born" when it comes to this Parisian brasserie stuff.

Not to mention the evolved artistic process of setting a long, complex poem to a long, complex piece of music. I am impressed that I ended up in an arts org that does that sort of thing.

Above all, however, I am pleased and proud of the quality of our fellow travelers. Like Alice Fulton. It was her long poem Give that I was scoring at the brasserie on the Isle de St. Louis. I sent her a link to the blogpost, to reignite our correspondence. And that paid off - big time.

Thanks so much for getting in touch again. I'm so sorry that I haven't thanked you for Crossing America. My husband and I loved what you (and others) did with Leo Connellan's work. The musical glosses suited the words so well, and there was such variety to the music. I was daunted by all I wanted to say and so said nothing at all. (A real character flaw.) Now I look forward to hearing your settings of Les Murray and Paul Muldoon, two poets I've long admired.

I'm thrilled, really, that you're thinking of setting "Give," and I'd be happy to read at least some of the spoken parts. What more can I do to help?

The composer Enid Sutherland scored "Give" a few years ago. (I'd be happy to send you a cd, if you like, but I also can understand if you'd rather not hear her setting. "Comparisons are odious," though from what I've heard, your work is very different from Enid's. ) My poems also have been set by William Bolcom, Anthony Cornicello, Joseph Klein, and others. I've found the collaborative process, to whatever degree it exists, to be fun and rewarding.

Thanks for the good wishes on my fiction collection. Do you have my book Felt? There's a long sequence in it called "About Music For Bone And Membrane Instrument" that might be of interest... If you send me your street address, I'll mail you copies of both the fiction (The Nightingales of Troy) and Felt, if you don't have

Thanks, too, for mentioning me in your blogs. Please forgive my silence; it was full of marveling gratitude for your interest and your music. I'm very eager to aid and abet you in whatever way possible. I'll try to be a more reliable correspondant, as a



The picture is of Alice, taken by her husband Hank De Leo. I know, I know; all that, and beauty too.

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