Words + Music = In Place

In Place is a collaborative work with poet Nick Lantz, featuring poetry and original music. 

"Both the writing and reading of poetry are, for me, largely solitary acts. Author and reader do, in a sense, collaborate to create meaning, but it’s a one-way collaboration, with the reader’s contribution quite distant in time and space from the author’s. So it’s rare, and exciting, to engage in a true creative collaboration, particularly one that blends different art forms together. When writing the poems for “In Place,” I had to consider not only the work that each poem performs on the page, but how it might interact with—how it might enhance and in turn be enhanced by—music. After I’d written the first poem for the project, John and I met to discuss how the piece might go forward. I’d planned to write all of the poems in a particular form, but after hearing John talk about the different families of instruments Lungta might use, and the different soundscapes they could create, I immediately began to imagine ways in which the poems might (in their phrasing, diction, and format) anticipate or even generate differences in instrumentation and mood. I’ve always been in awe of people who can create or perform musically. In grade school music lessons, I opted for whatever instrument made the least sound, and then hid in the back of the room, moving my mouth without actually singing. A poetry/music collaboration requires that I trust my musical partners, which in this case has been easy. The musical interpretations that John and Amanda have lent to the poems are beyond what I could have anticipated or imagined, but as we’ve rehearsed, I’ve been more and more impressed with how the music and the text seem to understand one another." —Nick Lantz


Nick Lantz is the author of two recent collections of poetry. The first, We Don’t Know We Don’t Know (Graywolf Press, 2010), won the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Bakeless Prize, the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award, and the Larry Levis Reading Prize. His second collection, The Lightning That Strikes the Neighbors’ House (University of Wisconsin Press, 2010), was selected by former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky for the Felix Pollak Prize. His third book, How to Dance as the Roof Caves In, is due out in 2014. Lantz earned his MFA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has received fellowships from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and his work has appeared in Mid-American Review, Prairie Schooner, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, Poetry Daily, Blackbird, jubilat, and FIELD, and has been featured on the nationally syndicated radio program The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. He has taught creative writing at the University of Wisconsin, Gettysburg College, Franklin & Marshall College, the Tinker Mountain Writers’ Workshop, and Queens University’s Low-Residency MFA. He currently teaches at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.

You can learn more about Nick's work here: http://www.nick-lantz.com/