Elizabeth Kirkpatrick Vrenios’poetry has appeared in Clementine,Amaerican Poetry Journal, Poetry Leaves, Kentucky Review, Bethlehem Writers Roundtable, Poeming Pigeon, Form Quarterly, The Edison Literary Review, Poeming Pidgeon, and Unsplendid. She was a 30/30 poet for Tupelo Press and her prize winning chapbook, Special Delivery is published by Yellow Chair Press, available on Amazon.
She co-wrote the book Party Line under the name Elizabeth Kirkpatrick. Elizabeth is a professor emerita from American University in Washington D.C., having chaired the vocal and music departments. Vrenios’ solo recitals throughout the United States, South America, Scandinavia, Japan, and Europe have been acclaimed. As the artistic director of the Redwoods Opera Workshop in Mendocino, California, and the Crittenden Opera Workshop in Washington D.C. and Boston, she has influenced and trained students across the country. She is a member of the international Who’s Who of Musicians, and is the past National President of the National Opera Association.
I have always been interested in the printed word, even from my earliest roots. My first poem, written at the age of six revealed my passion for music and word, for it was written as a song on the piano to a rhythmic I,IV,V,I exercise:
Singing songs by Candlelight
On the Darkest, darkest night.
It's so fun for me you see
because its by our Christmas Tree.
Music and poetry have always been two sides of the same coin for me. As an international singer performing recitals, I always preferred English andAmerican music as it revealed that part of me that felt deeply enmeshed in the written word of my native language. I always wrote poetry, but because of my chosen vocation as singer and professor of music, poetry was on the back burner. Once I retired, my interest in poetry deepened and I began to pursue this new and exciting journey. In 2016 I published a chapbook of poetry written about my son, Nicholas Andreas Vrenios who was on the Pan Am 103 Flight that exploded over Lockerbie. My journey into the dark and joyous light of the poetic word has continued ever since. I invite my friends and those who simply love poetry and passion of the word to share in my journey.
I crack open my mind to allow my music into my words, to allow me to compose in sounds, form, a place of music of sound, of allowing consonants and vowels to speak on their own. I am awed by life's incongruities. Just as I am awed by strange harmony, 12 tone music, experimental music and sound.
Part of what I continually search for is how to transfer what I know about music into words: How can I write in a sonata allegro form? How can I take a motive apart and give it a voice in a development as Beethoven did. How can I make a phrase (sentence) and turn it on its head like Mozart? I have a longing that knocks against my psyche, that scrapes my skin, that boils my dreams and makes me wake as if drowning . Music has been my muse: language as sound and percussion like waves crashing against the cliffs, or seeing air thick with swirls of Puccini, Mozart, Barber or Massenet. However, I feel as if I am only the wind, unable to create the music of the spheres, only to rustle the leaves.
I feel as if I dwell in the thickness of the universe, my muse. My mind swims in a thick soup much like the pulls of magnets or the vortexes at Sedona. I feel the mind swirl with thickness, knowing it is the Universe or the muse. Dwelling in the midst of that swirl is a light, a stillness that rules me, that leads me where I should go. I sit quietly and listen to see what I need to say, knowing that at some point the universe will answer. It is like waiting for an echo or hoping a rock will skip eight times across the pond.
It isn't thoughts that propel me, but feelings. I do get distracted by thoughts, but it is the emotion that sets my words on fire. As a poet I long to come up with the essences I find in music. Being a musician trying to be a poet is very much like trying to learn a new language, as if I were the wind trying to talk to the deer in the forest - the language is stiller, more intimate and felt in the ears and skin rather than the tongue and breath. It is as if the wind carries my words much like the kites in the air dance on the wind.
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