Our audiovisual archive, Voca, holds recordings of readings given at the Poetry Center dating back to the 1960s. Today, I want to focus on a mixed-media performance given by poets Richard Siken and Catherine Wing in collaboration with the University of Arizona School of Dance. This performance, “Love Notes,” was given on February 17, 2012. With Valentine’s day right around the corner, this unique performance is the perfect way to celebrate without leaving your house! (Click here to watch or keep reading for more info.)
Richard Siken is a local Tucson poet and author of two collections of poetry: Crush (2005) and War of the Foxes (2015). Siken is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, Yale Younger Poets Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Lambda Literary Award, among many more. In 2001 Siken founded Spork Press. Today, Siken works as a social worker in Tucson.
Catherine Wing is the author of two collections of poetry: Enter Invisible (2005) and Gin and Bleach (2012). Wing has received fellowships and residencies from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Today, Wing teaches poetry at Kent State University in Ohio.
Richard Siken begins the reading with a poem titled “Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out,” which explores the darker, more sinister parts of love; the parts where love is unrequited and dwindling, the parts where lovers disappoint one another. Accompanied by creeping piano music, Siken reads this poem boldly and with humor. In the second track we are treated to a gorgeous dance choreographed by Elizabeth George and performed by Katherine Larson. Accompanied by Catherine Wing’s whisper, Larson, draped in white fabric, begins to move fluidly across the stage. The music is slow and methodical and each line of poetry rings with fullness through the auditorium. Wing ends the performance with a ghazal. Finally, Siken wraps up the reading with his famous “Scheherazade,” the opening poem of his book Crush, which won him the 2004 Yale Younger Poets prize. Suzanne Knosp was the composer and pianist, Jory Hancock and Melissa Lowe the choreographers, and Shaila Isham and Sydney Jones the dancers. I hope you enjoy this beautiful performance.