Thursday, April 24, 2014

Josephine Miles scored by Mike Burgett and Cindy Royal

"Mica Moraine" by Cindy Royal 
(after Josephine Miles)
mixed media

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 score will be performed live 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 will be followed by Ann Hirschfeld and Mark Buckheit (10 p.m.) and Dugout Canoe (11 p.m.).

Here is a demo of Mike Burgett's poetry score of the 5th numbered section of "Ten Dreamers in a Motel," paired with Cindy Royal's' visual adaptation of the same passage of poetry.

"Moraine" demo (2:22)
(Josephine Miles, Mike Burgett)
Performed and recorded by Mike Burgett

Poetry (c) 1955 Josephine Miles
Music (c) 2013 Mike Burgett

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.

Mike Burgett,
Snow White mirror selfie
(after Anne Sexton)

Mike Burgett has been the voice and songwriting power behind some of St. Louis' greatest quirky pop, as co-frontman of Aviation Club, which evolved into The Lettuce Heads -- a marvel of pop songcraft and ensemble rock musicianship that somehow survived from the early 1990s to the present day in its original quartet. The second Lettuce Heads record, long available only in coterie bootlegs but finally released as For Promotional Use Only, remains one of the most fantastic rock records almost nobody has heard. Mike is now an active contributing songwriter with Poetry Scores, most recently in its ongoing poetry score of Ludwig Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. He also has a song on the second Poetry Scores Hawaii project, devoted to Beat poet Albert Saijo (forthcoming in 2015, paired with a national juried art exhibition in the Art Department at the University of Hawaii - Hilo).


Here is the part of the poem Mike and Cindy translated into their respective media:

from "Ten Dreamers in a Motel" by Josephine Miles


Carombed out of town in a comedy-chase fashion,
Police oblique to our path, and statues
Wheeled over, through Harlem, and all more wasteful as we went,
And ended up at this tourist cabin,
Its outlook, so it was said, restful.

Went to the window,
Pushed aside the curtains and there saw
That countryside we longed for: rocks,
Steep slopes of rocks, rubble and rusk of rocks.
What is it? and you said, moraine.


"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).


Mike Burgett in The Lettuce Heads on Confluence City

Mike Burgett with The Lettuce Heads scoring Stefene Russell's "Las Vegas Dace"

Mike Burgett noodling around that K. Curtis Lyle liked for a score of his poetry

Mike Burgett in the nowadays Lettuce Heads live at Stone Spiral Coffeehouse



Josephine Miles scored by Joe Thebeau and Carrie M. Becker
Josephine Miles scored by Michael Martin and Julie Malone


Read @PoetryScores on Twitter.


"Mica Moraine" by Cindy Royal 
(after Josephine Miles)
mixed media

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