If this world could stop


If this world could stop


Three poems from widely varied sources provide the raw material for FACES. The cycle yields three snapshots of interior life, and all explore the gap between the faces people show and the ones they keep to themselves. If this world could stop is the voice of the overlooked one, the one who just wants to fit in and be noticed. The vocal lines is halting, stammering, smoldering, surging, with a sputtering accompaniment inspired by reverse turntable spinning and a surging flamenco guitar imitation. i carry your heart is a full-fledged profession of love in a traditional art-song structure. The halting qualities from if this world could stop have metamorphosed into a gasping, sighing, hocketing soaring of heart-felt expression over a creamy and fully orchestrated piano part. I am writing poetry is the intense rock-and-roll shout of a voice on the edge of self-harm and destruction. From a driving start to a demonic waltz, this face teeters from fear to play to the harsh reality of self-knowledge. FACES was written for Lindsay Kesselman and
Christopher James Lees.

If this world could stop
For a moment
And see me;
If I could step out
Into the street and become
One of them,
One of anything,
I would sing—
No, weep right here—to simply
Be and be and be…

—Rita Dove, from Sonata Mulattica

Rita Frances Dove (born August 28, 1952) is an American poet and essayist. From 1993 to 1995, she served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. She is the first African American to have been appointed since the position was created by an act of Congress in 1986 from the previous “consultant in poetry” position (1937–86). Dove is the second African American to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, in 1987, and she served as the Poet Laureate of Virginia from 2004 to 2006. Since 1989, she has been teaching at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she held the chair of Commonwealth Professor of English from 1993 to 2020; as of 2020 she holds the chair of Henry Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing.

Sonata Mulattica : A Life in Five Movements and a Short Play is a collection of poems by U.S. poet laureate Rita Dove, published in 2009, about the life of George Bridgetower. Bridgetower was a biracial (Afro-Caribbean, Polish, German) musician who was friends with Beethoven.