Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Josephine Miles scored by Mark Buckheit and Shana Norton

"Concern" by Shana Norton
(after Josephine Miles)
transparency film, fabric

Poetry Scores' Spring 2014 project in our home city of St. Louis is devoted to "Ten Dreamers in a Motel."

This poem by Josephine Miles (1911-1985) was published in her 1955 book Prefabrications, a prescient registry of changes in the American built landscape and how that changed the way people construct their own reality (and dreams).

SOHA Studio + Gallery will host a one-night-only Poetry Scores art invitational based on "Ten Dreamers in a Motel" 6-10 p.m. Friday, April 25 at the gallery, 4915 Macklind Ave. Julie Malone and Kat Dunne of SOHA commissioned ten women artists to each make visual art in response to one of the poem's ten numbered sections.

Poetry Scores also has commissioned ten musical scores to the ten numbered parts of "Ten Dreamers in a Motel." That live score will be presented 9 p.m. Friday May, 23 at The Tap Room, 2121 Locust, with ten women reading the ten numbered parts of the poem in between the songs. This free show is followed by Ann Hirschfeld and Mark Buckheit (10 p.m.) and Dugout Canoe (11 p.m.).

Here is a demo of Mark Buckheit's poetry score of the 3rd numbered section of "Ten Dreamers in a Motel," paired with Shana Norton' visual adaptation of the same passage of poetry.

Free mp3

"Dreamer #3" demo (2:59)
(Josephine Miles, Mark Buckheit)
Performed and recorded by Mark Buckheit

Poetry (c) 1955 Josephine Miles
Music (c) 2014 Mark Buckheit

This recording may be freely shared for non-commercial uses. For any other usage, contact Poetry Scores at and we will connect you with the composer and the poet's estate.

Mark Buckheit

Mark Buckheit is a veteran of St. Louis' independent rock music scene whose work would be much better known had he been luckier or better suited temperamentally for putting himself forward. He was a co-frontman for Three Foot Thick, an inventive folk/rock band that was present at the birth of St. Louis' twang scene but strangely overlooked. Mark sings "Cole Porter Kind of Day," Three Foot Thick's contribution to Rick Wood's seminal Out of the Gate compilation (1990), and it still holds up on that tape next to the earliest and best work of Uncle Tupelo and Chicken Truck (The Bottle Rockets). Mark now plays in The Deciders, in a duet with Ann Hirschfeld, and in the Poetry Scores house band Three Fried Men.


Here is the part of the poem Mark and Shana translated into their respective medium:

from "Ten Dreamers in a Motel" by Josephine Miles


One day we started out
To pick up driftwood. I was interested
In a housing project there, I had heard a lecture
Illuminating the beach like lightning.
It was my concern
To raise on the shingle rows of boards
On which the great foundations could be built.

Rather, I found the shanties were up already,
And indeed down already, every one
Empty to the tide as if just then
They had been lived in but would live no more.
I turned round.
If I had been looking south I looked north
East west I turned.


"Ten Dreamers in a Motel" was published in Josephine Miles' 1955 book Prefabrications, which is included in her Collected Poems (University of Illinois Press, 1983).


Mark Buckheit in Three Foot Thick on Critical Mass

Mark Buckheit in Three Foot Thick on the Archive of St. Louis Punk

Mark Buckheit on Three Fried Men's poetry score of Wayne Kaumualii Westlake

Mark Buckheit on Three Fried Men's musical adaptation of a Jonathan Borofsky sculpture



Josephine Miles scored by Joe Thebeau and Carrie M. Becker

Josephine Miles scored by Michael Martin and Julie Malone


Read @PoetryScores on Twitter.

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