Poetry Scores will premiere "Ten Dreamers in a Motel" 9 p.m. Friday, May 23 at the Schlafly Tap Room, 2121 Locust. A band of Poetry Scores regulars will perform 10 new scores of the 10 parts of the poem by Josephine Miles, with a different woman reading each of the 10 pieces of poetry before the songs.
The premiere will be followed at 10 p.m. by the duet Ann Hirschfeld and Mark Buckheit, and then at 11 p.m. by Dugout Canoe, a local all-star old-time music group. The show is free and open to the public.
The band performing "Ten Dreamers in a Motel" will be Nick Barbieri (drums, guitar, vocals), Mark Buckheit (guitars, vocals), Heidi Dean (keyboards, vocals), Eileen Gannon (harp), Adam Long (cello) and Tracy Swigert (guitar, vocals).
They will perform new poetry scores of Josephine Miles' poetry by Nick Barbieri, Mark Buckheit, Mike Burgett, Heidi Dean, Robert Goetz, Ann Hirschfeld, Chris King/David Melson, Michael Martin, Tracy Swigert and Joe Thebeau.
The women reading the 10 parts of the poem before the songs will be Beth Barbieri, Gina Dill-Thebeau, Catherine Eiler, Yaphett El-Amin, Kimberley Hughes, Julie Malone, Mali Newman, Nicky Rainey, Stefene Russell and Nina Thompson.
"Ten Dreamers in a Motel" was published in Josephine Miles' 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).
"Ten Dreamers" may be the first poem published where the motor hotel -- the motel -- is the defining organizing principle. The poem peeks briefly into ten separate sets of lives, brought together momentarily by the accident of a shared stopping space along the road. We're introduced to these ten sets of lives through brilliant flashes of poetic language, like headlights through motel curtains, with the abrupt symbolism and concentrated emotional power of dreams.
Josephine Miles (1911-1985) was a major American poet from California who has never quite been recognized as such. She was the first tenured woman professor in the English Department at the University of California - Berkeley, but her poetry was under-appreciated by the male-dominated literary establishment of her time. Her work, best represented in Collected Poems (University of Illinois Press, 1983), is ripe for rediscovery.
Download the poem.
Photo by William Stafford
PREVIOUS POSTS ABOUT "TEN DREAMERS"
Josephine Miles scored by Mark Buckheit and Shana Norton
Josephine Miles scored by Mike Burgett and Cindy Royal
Josephine Miles scored by Heidi Dean and Robin Street-Morris
Josephine Miles scored by Joe Thebeau and Carrie M. Becker
Josephine Miles scored by Michael Martin and Julie Malone
Motel image borrowed from Beautiful Buildings