I Will Be Earth (2013)


Text by May Swenson

Total duration ca. 2'20"

Single movement work

Premiered in June 2015

in Baltimore, MD

by Joshua Glassman and the Mt. Vernon Consort

Listen to a recording of this work on Spotify

Audio clip performed by David Moore and the First Readings Project


Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $1.00 per copy

Swenson’s ecstatic words, elaborating the permeable barrier between love and lust, emotional and physical connection, tumble over each other, breaking conventions of punctuation, grammar, and syntax. In the first stanza, Swenson assigns her and the poem’s addressee the roles of complementary objects, interlocking pieces. In the second stanza, she latches onto the maritime imagery that ends the first stanza, transubstantiating the ground to a flood, roots to oars, describing an endless rocking of pleasure and almost dangerous, animal desire. The musical setting reprises the first stanza, with even more clamorous tumbling of amorous voices.

“I will be earth” by May Swenson. Used with permission of the Literary Estate of May Swenson. All Rights reserved.