Co-sponsored by the Poetry Center, San Francisco State University
“…I am drawn to language for its music, for language’s capacity to limn thought, its connection to experience, its power to still and magnify the world while one writes/reads the world/book…. I write poems that teeter on the verge of legibility, blur private and public, set boundaries anew and implicate us as practitioners of this moment and the next.” —Erica Hunt
New York-based duo Erica Hunt (poetry) and Marty Ehrlich (saxophone, clarinet, flute) present an evening of poetry and sound. The two will collaborate in a suite of poetry/music improvisations/variations, vocalized word, sound and site sensitive, simmered on the spot. Hunt will read from new work, including the recently published “A day and its approximates.” Ehrlich will also perform an evolving work for solo clarinet, “Lay Down Your Weary Tune.”
Erica Hunt and Marty Ehrlich have performed their poetry/music collaboration over the years in numerous contexts across America. They have performed at Brandeis University, the University of Arizona, Louisiana State University, at the Naropa Summer Writing Program, and at Tribeca Performing Arts in New York City. Two recent works are “Cartographies of Flight,” looking at poetry focused around Charlie Parker, and “In the Beginning was the Word,” which combined Hunt’s recent work with Ehrlich’s compositions from his “Fables” recording. They recently performed together in 2013 at the CUNY Graduate Center in an evening dedicated to Amiri Baraka and Aimé Césaire.
Erica Hunt is a poet, essayist, and acclaimed social justice worker. She is author of Local History and Arcade, as well as two poem chapbooks, Piece Logic and Time Flies Right Before the Eyes and most recently, a new chapbook, A day and its approximates. Other bits published in Boundary 2, Conjunctions, Poetics Journal, Tripwire, Recluse, In the American Tree, and in Moving Borders: Three Decades of Innovative Writing by Women, The Politics of Poetic Form, and various other anthologies. Hunt has received awards from the Foundation for Contemporary Art, the Fund for Poetry, and the Djerassi Foundation. From 1998–2010 she worked as Executive Director and President of the Twenty-First Century Foundation, a leading Black philanthropic organization supporting community change and racial equity.
Hunt writes: “Poetry makes a path out of ordinary language, contesting the ordinary claims about the ‘real.’ Ordinary language is frequently instrumental, instructional, direct, prescriptive and remunerative, the language of enlistment and persuasion. But it is in the non-instrumental language of poetry in which the lapidary, the spare, mysterious, disjunctive, molecular, muscular, anagrammatic (and so on) provide previously undetected links to thinking and acting on alternatives and to building a just society. (Swords into plowshares, plowshares into ribbons, ribbons into irons, irons into kites.)”
More on Erica Hunt:
Profile at Foundation for Contemporary Arts
Notes on Music and Meaning: A Chat with the Poet Erica Hunt, audio
“Notes for an Oppositional Poetics” October 14, 1988 talk, audio at PennSound
Marty Ehrlich is celebrating thirty-five years in the nexus of creative music centered in New York City. He began his musical career in St. Louis, Missouri, while in high school, performing and recording with the Human Arts Ensemble. He graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music with honors in 1977, where his teachers included George Russell, Jaki Byard, Joseph Allard, and Gunther Schuller. Since that time, he has made twenty-five recordings of his compositions for ensembles ranging in size from duo to jazz orchestra. These groups include his Emergency Peace Ensemble, Traveler’s Tales Group, Rites Quartet, and the Marty Ehrlich Sextet. He has recorded a CD-length work for twenty-two musicians entitled The Long View, and has two acclaimed recordings in Tzadik’s Radical Jewish Culture series. In 2013 he released A Trumpet in the Morning, a large -ensemble recording of 5 long form compositions.
As a multi-instrumentalist passionate about improvisation and interpretation, he has performed with a who’s who of contemporary composers including Muhal Richard Abrams, Ray Anderson, Steven Bernstein, Anthony Braxton, John Carter, Andrew Cyrille, Jack DeJohnette, Anthony Davis, Mark Dresser, Peter Erskine, Michael Formanek, Don Grolnick, Chico Hamilton, Julius Hemphill, Andrew Hill, Wayne Horvitz, Robin Holcomb, Leroy Jenkins, Myra Melford, James Newton, Bobby Previte, David Schiff, Wadada Leo Smith, and John Zorn. He appears on more than 100 recordings with these and other composers.
Ehrlich has performed with the Chicago Symphony, the BBC Symphony, the New York City Opera, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Chamber Music Northwest, and other classical ensembles. He has worked with the Jose Limón and Bill T. Jones dance companies, among others. He is currently presenting a concert program for twelve musicians entitled “Julius Hemphill: A Composer Portrait.” His honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship in Composition, the Peter Ivers Visiting Artist Residency at Harvard University, composition grants from Chamber Music America, the NEA, and NYFA, “Clarinetist of the Year” from the Jazz Journalist Association, and a Distinguished Alumni award from NEC. He is currently Associate Professor of Jazz and Contemporary Music at Hampshire College. Audio and other info at martyehrlich.com.