Newly Commissioned Poem Finds a Home

Jennifer Hambrick reads her commissioned poem at VIVO Music Festival Columbus Museum of Art
Poet Jennifer Hambrick reads her poem “on a cold sea we travel,” commissioned by the VIVO Music Festival, at the Columbus Museum of Art, Aug. 31, 2017.  Pictured L to R: VIVO Music Festival co-artistic director and violist John Stulz, violist Matthew Lipman, Jennifer Hambrick, VIVO Music Festival executive director Ted Ou-Yang. (Photo courtesy of VIVO Music Festival)

Last Thursday, I had the unique honor to read my poem “on a cold sea we travel,” commissioned by the VIVO Music Festival, as a preface to a performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s pivotal chamber music work Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night) in the festival’s concert “VIVO Transfigured” at the Columbus Museum of Art.

Receiving the commission to write the poem and having the opportunity to read it aloud in a resplendent venue were incredibly special. But beyond that? I tend to think of my poems as my children and, like any good literary parent, to want them to thrive and eventually settle down in the pages of a nice literary journal. So I found myself wondering, what next? for this poem, which was invited and welcomed so warmly into the world.

I am delighted that “on a cold sea we travel” has been accepted for publication in the fabulous literary journal The Main Street Rag, where it will eventually take up residence among poems by other serious writers. My poem has found a home. A good one.

And now I can’t help but dream that “on a cold sea we travel” might be read aloud as the preface to other performances of Verklärte Nacht, once the poem has been published.

My undying thanks to VIVO Music Festival co-artistic directors John Stulz and Siwoo Kim for coming up with the brilliant idea to ask a poet to transfigure Transfigured Night. I’m humbled that they chose me for the task. They share top billing for the success of “on a cold sea we travel.”

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