Those interested in the power and possibility of mingling poetry and music – especially jazz music – will find great joy in a 10 minute conversation between Brazilian singer and composer Luciana Souza and NPR’s Lisa Mullins, in which Souza discusses her 2018 album, The Book of Longing. The album features poems by Leonard Cohen, Emily Dickinson, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Christina Rossetti, set to her original music.
Souza – the daughter of poet Tereza Souza, and who has recorded twelve albums since 1999 – talks about how she would memorize favorite poetry and eventually rhythm and music would result, ultimately her “taking possession” of the poetry until it “becomes mine.” A highlight of the recording is her musical interpretation of Emily Dickenson’s “We Grow Accustomed to the Dark” (found in its entirety below).
To listen to the interview, click here.
(Thanks to reader Joan Marsden for informing me of this interview)
We grow accustomed to the Dark
by Emily Dickinson
We grow accustomed to the Dark –
When Light is put away –
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Goodbye –
A Moment – We uncertain step
For newness of the night –
Then – fit our Vision to the Dark –
And meet the Road – erect –
And so of larger – Darknesses –
Those Evenings of the Brain –
When not a Moon disclose a sign –
Or Star – come out– within –
The Bravest – grope a little –
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead –
But as they learn to see –
Either the Darkness alters –
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight –
And Life steps almost straight.
Luciana Souza talks about The Book of Longing album