The Blue I Loved is a cycle of seven songs for voice, clarinet in Bb, cello, and piano (also arranged for voice and piano). The work was composed for, and is dedicated to, the wonderful soprano LaToya A. Lain, who is joined in this recording by Casey Robards (piano), Kennen White (clarinet), and Jamie Fiste (cello).
I. The Blue I Loved poem by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (b. 1954)
Born and raised in New Mexico, Benjamin Sáenz has written short stories and novels,
as well as many celebrated children’s books. Along with an American Book Award, in
2013 he became the first Latino writer to win the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. His
latest collection of poetry, Elegies in Blue, features the evocative poem used here.
II. Dawn Revisited poem by Rita Dove (b. 1952)
In 1987 Rita Dove became the second African American to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
She served as Poet Laureate of Virginia, and as Poet Laureate Consultant to the Library of Congress.
Dove’s work includes nine volumes of poetry, short stories, essays, novels, and plays. She has won
countless awards, and received 25 honorary doctorates. “Dawn Revisited” is from On the Bus With
Rosa Parks, W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., © 1999 by Rita Dove. Reprinted by permission of the author.
III. What’s Broken poem by Dorianne Laux (b. 1952)
Dorianne Laux’s poetry has been widely anthologized and translated into many languages.
She was a finalist for the National Book Critic’s Circle Award, and honors include the Paterson
Prize, two Best American Poetry Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, two fellowships from The National
Endowment for the Arts, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
IV. In the Night Sky poem by Carolyn Ridge (b. 1973)
A poet and author living in Seattle, Carolyn Ridge is a graduate of Pacific University whose work
has been published in many literary journals. She’s won awards and fellowships from the National
Endowment for the Arts, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the Washington Poets Association.
Carolyn Ridge is a frequent participant in the Seattle Poetry Slam.
V. The Love Cook poem by Ron Padgett (b. 1942)
Poet, editor, and translator Ron Padgett is the author of more than 20 collections of poetry and
prose. He has published translations of the work of French authors and poets, and is currently a
Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Padgett moved to New York City in 1960, where
he became a member of the bohemian “New York School.” The Love Cook is used by permission
from You Never Know (Coffee House Press, 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Ron Padgett
VI. Fireworks poem by Amy Lowell (1874 – 1925)
Amy Lowell was born in Massachusetts and published more than 650 poems, as well as an important
book about the poet Keats. She was well known for writing about contemporary trends in poetry, and made a significant contribution to literary history, as evidenced by her 1926 posthumous Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
VII. Light Through a Blue Vase poem by William Palmer (b. 1952)
Poems and essays by William Palmer have appeared in many publications, including The Christian
Science Monitor and the Chicago Tribune. Former Professor of English at Alma College, his textbook
on critical thinking and writing is used in classes throughout the country. A String of Blue Lights,
which includes the poem used here, was published in 2007.
The six poems not in public domain are all used with permission of the authors.
What brings these seven poems together? They’re about the stars and the sky, and about light and color. Along with the opening poem, The Blue I Loved, listen for other references to the color blue - a blue cup, a blue jay, blue light, a blue vase. But most of all, these are love poems, even the one that begins “You hate me and I hate you.” These are poems about seeking, losing, and experiencing love in all its many shapes and forms.
LaToya A. Lain, soprano