Monday, September 23, 2013

Poetry Scores celebrates Anne Sexton’s ‘Snow White,’ Nov. 8 at Mad Art

Anne Sexton, Ann Hirschfeld

Poetry Scores celebrates Anne Sexton’s ‘Snow White’
Live music/poetry performance with art invitational, Nov. 8 at Mad Art

From 6-10 p.m. Friday, November 8, Poetry Scores will host a celebration of the Anne Sexton poem “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” that includes the live premiere of a new musical score of the poem, a reading of the poem by twelve women, an art invitational where more than twenty visual artists respond to the poem, and a translation of the poem into finger foods.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at Mad Art Gallery, 2727 So. 12th Street in the Soulard neighborhood of St. Louis. Mad Art will run a cash bar. Doors to the art invitational and finger foods open at 6 p.m.

The live musical score will start at 8 p.m. prompt. St. Louis songwriter Ann Hirschfeld has scored Anne Sexton’s poem “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” as a sequence of twelve folk rock songs. She and her band will perform the score in its entirety, with a different woman reading from “Snow White” before each song.

“As Anne Sexton’s poem ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ is a different take on the Grimm fairy tale, in setting the words to music I hope to add one more dimension to the story,” Ann Hirschfeld says. “Harmonious sound evokes powerful emotions. The rhythm and cadence in which the syllables are sung can add to the mood as well. Anne Sexton provided a poem that is perfect for the medium of musical exploration. In breaking it down into twelve songs, I tried to construct a cohesive flow to all the possible visuals this poem can inspire for each listener.”

Ann Hirschfeld (guitar, vocals) will be backed by a crack band of veteran St. Louis musicians: Nick Barbieri (drums), Mark Buckheit (guitars), Heidi Dean (vocals), Michael Martin (bass), Jon Parsons (keyboards) and Tracy Swigert (vocals).

The twelve women who will read Sexton’s poetry before each of the songs are Amy Broadway, Catherine Eiler, Yaphett El-Amin, Leyla Fern King, Joan Lipkin, Mali Newman, Natalie Partenheimer, Heather Pillow, Nicky Rainey, Treasure Redmond, Rebecca Rivas and Stefene Russell.

The live score will be concluded by 9 p.m., but the art invitational will remain open.

"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," Poetry Scores’ ninth art invitational, is curated by Heather Corley, Poetry Scores’ guest curator for 2013. Corley invited visual artists from St. Louis and across the country “to create a new piece in response to the poem or re-contextualize an existing piece.” Each work of art will be titled after a direct quote from the poem, which will dictate where the art is placed in the show. So guests will be able to follow the progress of the poem by walking through the art exhibition.

“I am returning the Poetry Scores art invitational to a gallery exhibition where the focus is on the poem and the visual interpretation of the poem,” Heather Corley says. “I have chosen many artists who have not previously been involved with Poetry Scores and whose work will compliment, challenge and question the poem – conceptually, visually, or both.”

Confirmed visual artists – hailing from Bowling Green, Brooklyn, Chicago, Detroit, Iowa City, Knoxville, St. Louis and Vicksburg – include Kristina Arnold, Jay Alan Babcock, Amy Bautz, Jessi Cerutti, Deborah Chaney, Jon Cournoyer, Deb Douglas, Greg Edmondson, Alice Scott Gross, Andrew James, Anita Jung, Alicia LaChance, Jen McKnight, Tim Meehan, Carmelita Nunez, Lloyd Patterson Jr., Jeremy Rabus, Tony Renner, Snail Scott, Sarah Shebaro, Daniel Shown, Jeff Sippel, Dana Smith, Millee Tibbs, Andrew Torch, Jessie VanderLaan and Michael Woody.

Poetry Scores is an all-volunteer international arts organization based in St. Louis that translates poetry into other media, including music, visual art, cinema, food and happenings. "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is its eighth poetry score, or musical setting of a long poem. Nigerian Nobel laureate in literature Wole Soyinka describes Poetry Scores as “a very special celebration of creative collaboration.”

Ann Hirschfeld is a veteran St. Louis songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has played key roles in the bands Plaid Cattle and The Deciders. "Snow White" is her first poetry score. She says, “My influences of rock & roll, old-school and modern pop, retro R&B, folk and ska were ever-present in the creation of this piece.”

Heather Corley showed her work most recently at the prestigious Gallery 210 show at the University of St. Louis – Missouri in 2012. She received her degree in printmaking from UMSL in 2004 and her MFA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2007. She exhibits in the St. Louis region, nationally and internationally, and is a regular contributor to Poetry Scores art invitationals.

Anne Sexton (1928-1974) is one of the most widely anthologized, awarded and beloved of modern American poets. “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” appears in her collection of retold fairy tales, Transformations (1971). In his forward to Transformations, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. writes of Anne Sexton: “she domesticates my terror, examines it and describes it, teaches it some tricks which will amuse me, then lets it gallop wild in my forest once more.”

For more information, contact Poetry Scores creative director Chris King at or 314-265-1435 or visit

WHAT? Poetry Scores celebrates Anne Sexton’s Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs

WHEN? 6-10 p.m. Friday, November 8. Music/poetry performance is 8-9 p.m.

WHERE? Mad Art Gallery, 2727 So. 12th Street, St. Louis

COST? Admission is free, cash bar, Poetry Scores projects for sale

Chris King at or 314-265-1435

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