Sunday, June 17, 2012

Chatterbox Travels to Spoon River

A while back, without any real plan in place, I started asking our performers to record short poems from Edgar Lee Masters's classic Spoon River Anthology. Upon hearing the results, I decided that we should tackle the entire collection -- all 220+ poems -- making it a long-term project for the Chatterbox studio. In other words, by the time we make our way through the entirety of Masters's work, more than 220 individuals will have passed through our studio and contributed their time and their talent.

We've got a long way to go with the recordings (we've only completed 50 or so), but I'm happy to say that the technical end of the project has gotten a couple of big boosts lately. GiveCamp Memphis has offered to help us build an interactive website that will lead listeners through a virtual cemetery. (All the poems in Spoon River Anthology are written as epitaphs.) Memphis's famed Elmwood Cemetery will stand in for the Spoon River cemetery. And the very talented John Childress of J&B Childress Photography will capture the images that will make up the website.

With such a great team in place, I'm hopeful that the project will launch soon! Chatterbox's Spoon River site will be a work in progress as we continue to record and post poems. It may take us years to complete. In the meantime, though, we're planning to go ahead and share what we've recorded so far.

To whet your appetite, here are two preview poems: 

Amanda Barker, read by Jennifer Henry

Hare Drummer, read by Bennett Wood

Finally, Karen and I visited Elmwood this afternoon to look around and to take a few preliminary photos. It's an amazing place. Here's a bit of what we saw.

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