Build Me a Boat: Words for Music 1968 – 2018
Build Me a Boat gathers a selection of the words that poet Michael Dennis Browne has written for music over the past fifty years. Working with a number of different composers, Browne has ranged widely across forms; what we discover here are lyrics, song cycles, songs for children, excerpts from libretti—some of them in free verse, some of them formal—as well as poems that, while not written to be part of specific musical works, were nonetheless written with music in mind or under the influence of particular works. The result is a volume that sits comfortably between poetry and music, lyrical and rhythmic and memorable.
November 2020, Carnegie Mellon University Press Poetry Series
Chimes: selected short poems
In this volume Michael Dennis Browne has gathered together short poems from every phase of his long career into chapters focusing on childhood, nature, private anxieties and irrationalities, extended family, and other themes variously spacious and personal. Some have the ring of nursery rhymes, others the melancholy lilt of an elegy, the blunt force of an occasional poem by Yeats, or the enigmatic resonance of a passage from scripture. There are times when a few phrases can conjure an indelible moment of experience, and perhaps an entire universe, though the reader must fill in the blanks. We meet up with such moments repeatedly in the pages of this compact and powerful collection
One of the main themes is the essential presence of music and music-making in the world; “I would never go into the dark without the voices,” as the title poem says. The book also includes a number of elegies for departed family members and friends in balance with poems that celebrate existence—“love your life,” as the final (wedding) poem insists. The epigraph at the beginning of the book suggests the way we all must live in contradiction.
The book is dedicated to Stephen Paulus.
Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2015
5 1/2 x 8 1/2″ Poetry
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