Silence Emerging from Birds
My poetry collection, Silence Emerging from Birds, interweaves two sequences of poems. One sequence depicts Death as a woman struggling to balance the routine of her career as Death with her curiosity for the people she visits as they die. The other sequence explores key moments from my study and performance as a violinist and fiddler. Though these stories seem unrelated at first, the Death poems become manifestos on how to live, while the music poems play with the paradox that music—and, by extension, life—only exists when it is going out of existence.
The view from my seat at the Vienna Opera.
Haydn's death mask. Seen on a trip to his childhood home in 2006.
Statue of waltz master, Strauss, from my first trip to Vienna. Waltzes have always fascinated me. Maybe this is why I love writing things in threes...
The Possibilities of Persona
I enjoy the tension between freedom and restraint that writing through a persona allows me. I've always been fascinated by the fluid nature of selfhood, how different tendencies within us dominate at different times in different contexts. While the persona poems in this project explore Death's experiences at the boundaries of the living and the dead, my version of Death is also a version of me. She engages with many of the same questions I engage with, and this mirroring or overlap between my life and the persona's life allows for heightened moments of discovery. Writing within a persona is an act of imaginative empathy, but it always leads me back to learning more about my own limitations.
Classical Music in My Life
Music has always been present in my life. Some of my earliest childhood memories are working through a coloring book full of great composers, and receiving Bach audio cassettes for my birthday.
I began taking violin lessons in grade school, and started playing in orchestras a few years later. I became fascinated by the pageantry of performance and the way sounds are sometimes better than words at telling stories. I think that's why poetry appeals to me: it's a chance to marry the powers overbal and non-verbal expression.
Snapshots from the Old Granary Burial Ground in Boston, which I frequented during my college years.
Poems from this collection have appeared in Blinders Literary Journal, Clackamas Literary Review, Compose, Cumberland River Review, Fairy Tale Review, Fickle Muses, Hartskill Review, Naugatuck River Review, Northern New England Review, Pamplemousse, Reed Magazine, SLAB (Sound and Literary Art Book), Stillwater Review, and Sugared Water.
Read some of them online