for Voice and Live Electronics
Setting of two poems by Edward Estlin Cummings (1894-1962), an American poet, painter, essayist and playwright, best known for his poems and their unconventional use of language and writing. The two poems are characteristic of Cummings’ poetry, in that they express clusters of meanings delivered through different linguistic channels simultaneously: semantic, syntactic, phonemic/sonic and the visual layout. However, the poems are very different and in some aspects clashing: short versus long, visual versus sonic, quiet versus noisy, oneness versus multitude. The first poem, ” l(a “, is an example of Cummings’ visual poetry with its characteristic use of punctuation and layout, depicting a scene while expressing the feeling of loneliness. The second poem, “NOISE”, is a sonic poem, in that the linguistic focus is often shifted to the phonemic quality of the words, while the syntax obscures the meaning to describe a noisy city environment (New York City) with all its embedded worlds and bursting sounds. The settings use extended vocal techniques, live electronics and lighting to expand the poetic language by enhancing the discourse between the different aspects of each poem, focusing on phonemes, words, phrases, images, and the overall ambiance of each section.
The piece was written for Stephanie Pan.
|Description:||Voice and live electronics performance|
|Materials/Media:||Sound, text, speakers|
|Texts:||E. E. Cummings|
Stephanie Pan: Voice
Stelios Manousakis: Live Electronics
thugs of clumsy mutter shove upward leaving fat
feet-prints,rumbles poke buzzing thumbs
in eye of world
stovelike emotion rapidly scrambles toots and
scurry nibbling screams and sleek
whistles which sprint ribbons of
white shriek! Clatters limp,
from svelt blubbering tubes Big dins fuzzily
lumber rub-bing their eyes
thin very chimney lips wallow gushing cubes
of unhasty delirium,chunks of
indolence waddle slowly.
explosion: from black lips sail chrome
cries extra extra whatisit no? Yes!
no! yea: extra wheel! oh hear it
what no-yes (extra! extra) who, said
Yea? what! yea! yes.
PEACE Joy’s right boot squashes disciplined
fragilities by slobber of,patient
timidities undermined skyscrapers,
Krash;it (explodes in a) plastic Meeow
—with uncouth snarl of sculptural
fur through which Claws
leaps Wall Street wriggles choked with gesturing
human swill squirms gagged with
a sprouting filth of faces extra!
PEACE millions like crabs about a
prosperous penis of bigness the woolworth
vomit of supernatural buttons
biffing sky battles huge city which escapes
niftily through slit-of-sunset
dumb signs ripe
pustules of unhealth. squEEzed:spatter
pop-p-ings of mad
canyons of superb nonsense. Vistas of
neatness bunged with a wagging
humanity poised;In the bathing,
instant a reek-of electric daintiness PEACE
all night from timetotime the city’s accurate
face peeks from smothering blanket
of occult pandemonium
PEACE all night! into dawn-dingy dimness:
streets; capers a trickle of mucus
shapes equals girls men.