The black dog; the shadow; the fog
Celebrating Shabbat...with the poems of Rumi

A taste of 70 faces -- set to music!

I learned earlier today that four of the poems in 70 faces have been set to music! The composer is Michael Scherperel, who teaches music at Broward College. He set four of my Torah poems -- 1. Red Heifer / Chukat, 2. Sandals / Balak, 3. Caretaker / Behar, and 4. Korban / Vayikra -- to music as a 70th birthday gift for a friend. (It appears that I'm in excellent company; he's also set material by John Donne and by CP Cavafy.) He just sent me the sheet music for the four poems he set! What a delight to see my words on the score. I only wish my piano skills were a little bit stronger.

This is actually the second time a composer has set my words to music. A few years ago Michael Veloso was commissioned by Boston-based womens' musical ensemble Cantilena to write music for a Mother's Day concert (all music featuring mothers and motherhood in some way.) He set two of my Letters to Little Bean (part of a poem cycle I wrote while pregnant, otherwise as-yet unpublished) to music. On my first Mother's Day as a mother, I went to Boston to hear Cantilena perform Mike's music and my words -- an experience I hope I never forget.

Mr. Scherperel had apparently tried to reach me to ask permission to set the poems, but when his email didn't reach me, he took the plunge and wrote the music anyway. (And I am so glad he did.) This is probably a good time to say, on the record, that I am always happy when someone is inspired to create this sort of transformative work out of something I have written! Please feel free to remix, translate, create art inspired by, compose a musical setting for, and/or otherwise make art responding to or inspired by any of my work, poetry or prose.

I ask only that you credit me as the original work's author (and, if online, please link back to my site / my work) and that you show me whatever you make, because when someone likes something I've made enough to want to make something else in response, that brings me joy.