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The Book of American Poetry

Movement 1:
Nemesis
(excerpt)
Movement 3:
Peace
(full)
Movement 2:
At Night
(excerpt)
Movement 4:
We Real Cool
(excerpt)
Movement 7:
A Dream within a Dream
(excerpt)
Movement 5:
Dawn
(full)

AUDIO
Performed by the Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players

DURATION
20’30”

YEAR COMPOSED
2010

MOVEMENTS
I. Nemesis (Ralph Waldo Emerson) - 3’10”
II. At Night (Sara Teasdale) - 5’10”
III. Peace (Amy Lowell) - 1’45”
IV. We Real Cool (Gwendolyn Brooks) - 2’25”
V. Dawn (Paul Laurence Dunbar) - 2’20”
VI. Many red devils ran from my heart (Stephen Crane) - 2’35”
VII. A Dream within a Dream (Edgar Allan Poe) - 3’45”

INSTRUMENTATION
There are two versions:
- mezzo with piano
- mezzo with flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion

ORDERING SCORES
Inkjar Publishing Company
Click here to
email Inkjar Publishing Company to inquire about purchases of either version

PROGRAM NOTES
I began The Book of American Poetry project in 2008, and completed it in 2010. The goal of the project was to present poetry by a variety of poets within a single, large-scale song cycle (basically a musical anthology analogous to poetry collections). I established two criteria in choosing poets: the poets had to be born in the United States, and the poets would be drawn from America’s early poets up to the present generation. The chosen poems needed to fulfill several requirements: to serve as a representative poem of each poet, to cover a wide range of topics, and to complement as well as contrast the other poems in the project.

Volume I of The Book of American Poetry was commissioned and premiered in the summer of 2009 by the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble. Volume II was premiered by the Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players in New York in November 2011.
-S.G.