A Letter to Philip Glass
Dear Phillip Glass:
We've been reading your memoir Words without Music. We are reviewing it this month in our online magazine.
You writing, as you may know, seems to demand an instant reader response, something that you are familiar with, in that you write that upon hearing one of your works, your audience either wants to pillage you or to kiss you.
I am not in the pillage business, not yet, anyway --- nor really into kissing strangers --- but when I finished your book, this letter popped up unbidden, as you suggest often happens when one is composing, distancing oneself from the world.
One thing I learned about in Words is that you seem to be willing to set music to anything, be it a book by Doris Lessing, a Cocteau film, a passage from the Mahabarata, Albert Einstein, or a hydrogen jukebox.
This put me in mind of an anthology of poetry we published last last year, The Vivisection Mambo. I was thinking that it could be just the ticket for another composition of yours.
A leider-mambo, a mambo opera, a sextet, or, best --- a Requiem Mambo. À la Verdi. A full-bore Requiem . . . for me.
I don't mean to be louche, but I will be 83 next summer, I ain't no spring chicken, and I certainly don't plan to hang around with all these loonies running away with the world much more. I couldn't think of anything better than having one of those outlandish Glass pieces sprinkled all over my sweetly sagging sod.
Since there are 125 poets included in the volume, the Requiem could be set with 125 voices --- choro obbligato as it were. Or, knowing of your affection for music of the world (which we all here share), it could even be scored for a bevy of chin, pipa, kayagum, and/or nose-flutes. Or perhaps in tribute to our own tribal Anglo-Saxon music history, a score full of sacbuts and bone-whistles.
I send you herewith a copy of our book so you can begin work at once on the opus worthy of those self-same 125 who worked so hard to create shards of themselves to appear in this volume. I would --- at the same time --- hope as you leaf through it, that you might note its glorious design and layout printing. The volume is as close as we could make it to a legendary lapidary 19th Century hand type set book.
Thanks for writing a terrific book.--- Lolita Lark