“Woodcocks” for Poetry scores (Armenian genocide centennial )

Here you can listen the demo version of “Woodcocks” scored by Sherman S. Sherman (and played with Robert Goetz and Nick Barbieri) after one of my poems, as part of “Grandchildren of Genocide” project that was dedicated to the centennial of the 1915 onset of attempted genocide of the Armenians by the Ottoman Empire.

Poetry Scores translates poetry into other media, including music, visual art and cinema. They have done projects with Wole Soyinka, Les Murray, Paul Muldoon and the estates of Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound and Anne Sexton. They are founded and operated by volunteer artists, and run without funding.

 

 

WOODCOCKS

four woodcocks with their beaks lying on the ground like four hunting rifles.
two white dogs with pointed legs and leaden ears.
the dogs’ snouts reddened.
the woodcocks’ beaks blackened.

a dark sun that never turns his face away praises itself for being yellow
for the fact that everything happens inside of him.
wary, the hunter remains in the shadow
chewing tobacco.

 

SITARII

Patru sitari cu ciocurile întinse la pământ ca patru puşti de vânătoare.
doi câini albi cu picioare ascuţite şi cu urechi de plumb.
câinilor li s-a-nroşit botul.
sitarilor li s-a-negrit.

un soare întunecat care nu-şi întoarce niciodată faţa se laudă că-i galben
că totul se întâmplă în el.
prevăzător, vânătorul stă la umbră
şi mestecă tutun.

 

ŠLJUKE

Četiri šljuke s kljunovima položenim na tlo kao četiri lovačke puške.
dva bijela psa šiljatih nogu i olovnih ušiju.
psima se zacrvenjela njuška.
šljukama je pocrnjela.

tamno sunce koje nikad ne okreće lice hvali se da je žuto
da se sve to događa u njemu.
oprezan, lovac stoji u sjeni
i žvače duhan.

 

*****

“Grandchildren of Genocide” is a new score of modern poetry from Armenia co-produced by Robert Goetz and Chris King to coincide with the centennial of the 1915 onset of attempted genocide of the Armenians by the Ottoman Empire.

Composers of the scores include Goetz, King, Nick Barbieri, Steve Carosello, Marc Chechik, David Melson, Ann Hirschfeld, Sherman S Sherman and Mark Stephens. The composers will perform the scores live with a little help from their friends.

Poets scored include Christopher Atamian, Peter Balakian, Gregory Djanikian, Adrian Oproiu, Marine Petrossian (self-translated from the Armenian) and Alan Semerdjian. The poets have all endorsed the project, including co-publication of the resulting songs through Hollywood Recording Studio.

Robert Goetz brought the project to Poetry Scores in an effort to honor a dear Armenian friend, the artist Gina Alvarez. It so happens Chris King, Poetry Scores co-founder, had a best friend from high school, Monica Fanning, who was part of a large Armenian family in Granite City, the Takmaijans. You could say their hearts are in it.

Robert started learning about Armenia out of love for an Armenian, but he came to focus on the attempted genocide as a subject by reading “The Black Dog Fate” by Peter Balakian — remarkably one of the poets who ended up contributing work for the project when Chris pitched him blindly. Peter then suggested we invite the poet Gregory Djanikian, who came aboard as well.

Poetry Scores owes a special thanks to another one of the poets, Christopher Atamian of New York. Contacted out of the blue on the recommendation of a mutual friend, the translator Susan Bernofsky, Christopher contributed poems by himself and his friend Alan Semerdjian. Alan’s poem “Grandchildren of Genocide” provided the evocative title for the score.

Susan Bernofsky also put the producers on the trail to the other two participating poets, Marine Petrossian and Adrian Oproiu, who had work in Armenian Rhapsody, an online publication that Susan suggested as a resource. Poetry Scores now plans a separate projected devoted entirely to the work of Marine Petrossian.

As for Adrian Oproiu, he is the one featured poet not of Armenian descent, but he liked the idea and agreed with it.

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