Taxonomy of Paper Wings


Taxonomy of Paper Wings
for string quartet
Commissioned by the Cecilia String Quartet

Over the past year I have been occupied with the poetry of Emily Dickinson in concurrence to my composition work.  In the book Gorgeous Nothings, the “makeshift and fragile textual homes” of Emily Dickinson’s late writings are explored over a selection of 52 envelopes containing Dickinson’s handwritten poems.  I am captivated by how the poet uses the envelope’s space and sections to organize and structure her work.  This composition is based on catalogue A821, a poem composed by Dickinson in the early spring of 1885.  “Taxonomy of paper wings” refers to the construction of the poem, made of a collage of two sections on an envelope, resembling the hinged wings of a bird.

This project is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.