Organizing a Waterfall:

Topics: Poetry, Music, Sound Pages: 4 (768 words) Published: December 12, 2012
Organizing a Waterfall:
On Composing an Electroacoustic Environment
for Three Poems from Alice Fulton!s Felt

Joseph Klein, D.Mus.
University of North Texas (USA)

About Alice Fulton!s work
! Born 1953 in Troy, New York; studied at Cornell
University (MFA, 1983) with A.R. Ammons.
! Teaching positions at University of Michigan (19832001) and Cornell University (2001- ). ! Seven books of poetry and essays:
• Dance Script With Electric Ballerina (1983)
• Palladium (1986)
• Powers of Congress (1990)
• Sensual Math (1997)
• Feeling as a Foreign Language [essays] (1999)
• Felt (2001)
• Cascade Experiment [anthology] (2004)
! “Postmodern Fractal Poetics”: characterized by a disruption of “poetry plane” through the use of sharp contrasts, irony, self-reflexivity, and juxtaposition of the esoteric with the banal.
! Common themes include feminism, Emily Dickinson, popular culture, chaos theory, fractal geometry, music, art.

Background on the Work
! First encountered Fulton!s poetry in 1997 (“Fractal Lanes”). ! Fulton!s poems inspired the titles of two previous works:
• “the road in its unfoldings” (meta-passacaglia for wind symphony, 1996-97) • “crown knots & cascades” (movement VI of Occam!s Razor, 1994-99) ! The present work was originally intended as a setting of Fulton!s poem(s) for choir and stereo computer music; later determined that setting would be for poetry reading with 8-channel sonic “environment.”

! Three poems selected from Fulton!s most recent work, Felt (2001): • “Prequel”
• “By Her Own Hand”
• “Call the Mainland”
! Alice Fulton recorded poems in August 2004; work completed March 2005. ! First performance by Alice Fulton at the University of North Texas in April 2005.

Pre-compositional Considerations
! Computer music: fixed medium chosen over interactive environment. ! Poetry reading: natural pacing of poems; precise alignment with fixed computer music is not critical.
! Sound source materials...
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