[Blackstudies-l] Cornell U Music Department Presents “Song of the Land: Poems of Ishion Hutchinson”

Maria Lima lima at geneseo.edu
Sat Mar 25 02:26:25 EDT 2017


lisaparavisini posted: " A photo by Beowulf Sheehan from a gorgeous series
you can access here. A report by Victoria Horrocks for The Cornell Daily
Sun. Barnes Hall was packed for “Song of the Land: Poems of Ishion
Hutchinson,” a performance presented by the Music Department th"
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<http://repeatingislands.com/author/lisaparavisini/> Cornell U Music
Department Presents “Song of the Land: Poems of Ishion Hutchinson”
<http://repeatingislands.com/2017/03/24/cornell-u-music-department-presents-song-of-the-land-poems-of-ishion-hutchinson/>
by
lisaparavisini <http://repeatingislands.com/author/lisaparavisini/>

[image: IshionHutchinson061115_171cBeowulfSheehan_kkbflz.jpg]
A photo by Beowulf Sheehan from a gorgeous series you can access here
<http://www.beowulfsheehan.com/ishionhutchinson#6>.

A report by Victoria Horrocks for *The Cornell Daily Sun*.
<http://cornellsun.com/2017/03/23/music-department-presents-song-of-the-land-poems-of-ishion-hutchinson/>

Barnes Hall was packed for “Song of the Land: Poems of Ishion Hutchinson,”
a performance presented by the Music Department that put Hutchinson’s
poetry to compositions by graduate student composers. The performance
presented a fusion of the old and the new, incorporating multiple forms of
art to deliver a powerful concert. Guest artist Rachel Calloway, a mezzo
soprano, sang a dramatic reading that conveyed the emotion communicated in
the performance, and did so in a way that drew the audience in to share in
the experience with her.  This innovative project brought the respective
virtues of literature and music into a symbiotic relationship that managed
to showcase both the artistry of the music and the postmodern themes of
Hutchinson’s poetry.

The English department’s Ishion Hutchinson writes narrative poetry that
investigates colonialism through his depictions of landscape and the
emotional weight of colonial history. He was most recently the recipient of
the National Book Critics Circle Award for his collection of poetry *House
of Lords and Commons*, but has also won the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for
his collection *Far District. *In a similar style to the recently-deceased
Derek Walcott, Hutchinson writes simple but profound prose that commands
the emotion of the reader. The performance, which featured four of
Hutchinson’s poems, began with a tribute to Walcott with his poem “The
Season of Phantasmal Passing.” While not directly related to the
performance, it introduced the themes of love, temporality and passing that
pervaded the works of the poets and the musicians in the concert.

Throughout each piece, the natural rhythm of the poetry blended with the
rhythm of the music and the dramatic performance of Calloway. The
complementary relationship between mediums of art allowed the emotion
evoked by the music to reflect the emotion of the poetry. One piece that
was particularly striking was “Sharp: Bones Be Still.” In this piece,
Hutchinson’s writing came alive, and brought with it provocative images of
death and migration. The poem’s themes of immigration and sacrifice draw on
the image of the Middle Passage with lines such as “undead, fathers’ bones,
/ make the Atlantic your home.” This motif of the sea pervades the poetry,
but was fostered in the performance by the music. The chaotic percussion
mimicked the tumultuousness of the sea in addition to the turbulent
emotions of migration. As “the sea swells,” the music, too, crescendoed.
This relationship brought the writing and the music into a harmony that,
though distinct, allowed both art forms to complement the other.

While the concert was largely defined by its dramatic performance, it was
also marked by the fusion of the old and the new, the classic and the
postmodern. Hutchinson’s contemporary style, blended with the classical
feeling of the music, allowed not only for a blending of art forms, but
also a blending of ages. Whether through the use of technology as a part of
the musical production, or through the juxtaposition between the music and
the writing, the concert was a refreshing take on what music and literature
are capable of, both as distinct entities and in regards to each other.
*lisaparavisini <http://repeatingislands.com/author/lisaparavisini/>* |
March 24, 2017 at 6:33 pm | Categories: News
<http://repeatingislands.com/category/news/> | URL: http://wp.me/psnTa-utA

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