The poet has participated in several collaborations with the composer Edmund Campion, his brother. The first of their major efforts was The Map a Dung-Beetle Makes, which the two wrote and performed while they were fellows together at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire.
They also presented two works at the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, CA, Le Petit Mort (a surreal theurgic drama of poetry and music) and Name Calling (an exploration of endangered peoples and languages–See part 3 of ME).
You can listen to a live presentation of the Campion’s performing Name Calling at the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland by clicking on the following link:
The two also made a piece called SPELL, which became part of L’Autre, The text can be found below in the L’Autre discussion. You can listen to SPELL by clicking on this link:
These works prefigured their major efforts thus far, L’Autre (commissioned by Radio France) and ME (Commissioned by CIRAM, Nice, FR). These two represent a deep attempt to re-dress the enormous differences in orientation and expression that poets and composers have.
PLEASE NOTE: Librettos and descriptions of both pieces follow the links bellow.
Follow this link for audio and video samples of L’Autre:
Follow this link for images, videos, and a score of ME:
- You can find more information about Edmund Campion and his collaborations with John Campion and others at this link:
HERE is a description and the text for both L’Autre and ME
Edmund J. Campion: Composition John Campion: Text and Concept
L’autre and ME present two faces of a mytho‑poeic history deposited in the West as the feminine and the masculine, among many other dichotomies. The two works are similarly structured and together, like a photograph and its negative, more nearly complete the story of the portrait.
In L’Autre, the age‑old artistic contention for ascendancy between poetry and music mirrors the struggle between consciousness and the unconscious. Through a deeply in‑woven collaboration between composer Edmund Campion and poet John Campion, L’Autre begins with the origins and hopeful emergence of consciousness out of the unconscious, the birth of language (the logos) out of a primordial welter of sounds and syllables. The work traces the development of this Ur‑relationship through the usurpation and domination of the unconscious by consciousness, the feminine by the masculine. This conflict is portrayed as a modern fear of “The Other,” race and culture, (embodied in a tragic utterance of the names of endangered peoples) and gender. As the piece progresses, the kinship between the two elemental principles becomes untenable. After much terrible experience, the repressed feminine, reborn with gnosis, returns with song to offer its counterpart another, different, chance at collaboration.
L’Autre is scored for 1 horn, 2 percussion, 1 harp, 1 mezzo‑soprano/narrator, and stereo tape. The piece could not have been completed without generous support from IRCAM and the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies.
[Beginning with a hiss in the garden, this part embodies the birth of language and contains a growing number of sounds, syllables, and words that coalesce into the following:]
She is a sow
cooked in the belly
Earth comes of Her.
We offer the skirt of Pele
—hips move the sacred hula,
holy place we are born.
Look at the inner parts.
Whatever’s hot is mine.
You may not take.
Whatever’s hot is sacred.
ON THE INSTITUTION OF THE
AND ORDER OF MOTHERHOOD
GLORY, AND ESTABLISHMENT
OF THE TITLE OF HONOR
…7 children 2nd class
…8 children 3rd class
…9 children 4th
split nut pin polish
the animal we kill)
So nice a pretty white
nice, all made up,
face topped off
stacks of honey‑
blond a Q‑tanned
tucked neat in sheer
raised on ruby‑reds
classun si joli visage tout blanc,
coiffÈ de mËches
des cuisses bien roulÈes,
couvertes de NivÈa
toutes deux bien lisses
et joliment faites,
bien moules dans
et rehaussees de hauts
so what’s left whenever
Name Calling: The electronically processed names of these peoples and languages (threatened with extinction) appear on the tape here and in other parts of L’Autre. (Spell another collaboration) was partly derived from this section).
Bella Coola Blackfoot Cayuga Cree Haida Kwakwala Micmac Mohawk Nootka Seneca Tuscarora Tlingit Tsimshian Apache Arapaho Cherokee Choctaw Comanche Crow Lakota Boruca Guatuso Lenca Kekchi K iche Chorti Miskito Popoluca Yaqui Lacandon Yucatec Zapotec Choco Kuna Kolla Mataco Toba Chiquitano Quechua Arawete Kayapo Kreen‑Akore Makuxi Nambikwara Parakana Pataxo‑Ha‑Ha‑Hae Tukano Delaware Pichada Otavala Cofan Secoya Arawak Akawaio Toba‑Maskoy Amarakaeri Ashaninka Matsigenka Lakono Karinja Tigrayan Tuareg Chakma Khumi Khyang Tripua Khasi Knond Kolha Korku Malaipantaram Santal Ratra Tadari Baluch Pathan Vedda Kokotha Pitjantatjara Yirrkala Kanaky Kyaka Tibetan Kazakh Tsembaga Asmat Dayak Ainu Sengoi Kayan Kelabit Kenyah Arakanese Kachin Bontoc Kalinga Kankanai Mbuti Shiluk Akha Chukchi Karachaevsky Khakasy Kanty Laktsy Talysky Yuit Ute Isneg Kainga Yakan Koochis Karen Ifugao Ibaloy Zhuang Hui Inuit Dene Metis Pipil Panare Piaroa Dinka Hadzabe Nez Perce Bribri Javai Uygar Eritrean Fipa Fulbe Onondaga Tarahumara Navajo Guaymi Chriguano Garavo Guarani Gaviao Txukurramae Waimiri‑Atraori Embera Guahibo Guambiano Paez Efe Twa Wambaya Gurindji Yungngora Chipewyan Huichol Oneida Hopi Chol Chuj Xavante Yagua Bari Aguaruna Bhil Bhilala Chencha Dandami Garo Gond Ho Vasara Dani Huli Tahitian Yi Zhuang Chimbo Manchu Iban Penan Chin Shan Hanunoo Lahu Lisu Charma Maranao Bangsa Moro Innu Cheyenne Shoshone Mixe Nahua Rama Sumu Aymara Ayoreo Mapuche Arara Asurini Yanomami Wayuu Siona Waorani Shuar Yanesha Afar Nuer Maasai Zhu Twasi Marma Murung Lushai Mizo Munda Maori Meo Chamorro Cham Nung Yao Saami Mojo Oraon Oromo San
Part III continues with this SPELL
Go to the waters,
pull out a stone
and place it in a flame;
then pull out the heart,
releasing with words,
a field of flowers.
No thing but in relation.
Deepening others, we become ourselves
—the spark leaps with synaptic faith.
Only one great thing sings me
when I am mindful.
Lakes cannot abide their depths being plumbed.
Vaya al agua, saque una piedra.
y metelo en una flama;
luego, remueve el corazÛn
y libera con palabras
un campo de flores.
Nada sino en relacion.
Profundizando en el otro,
llegamos a ser nosotros
óla chispa salta con fe sinaptica.
Hay una sola cosa que me cantó
cuando atento estoy.
El lago no sufre que su abismo sea plomado.
Va aux eaux, prends une pierre
et mets‑la dans une flamme;
puis retire‑lui le coeur,
leberant un champ de fleurs par des mots
Tout n’est que relation
En approfondissant les autres, nous devenons nous‑mÍmes
óIetincelle saute par sa foi synoptique.
Il n’y a qu’une chose qui me chanteó
lorsque je suis attentive
Les lacs ne peuvent supporter le sondage de leurs profondeurs;
She is memory,
a girl with shining face and eyes of a bird
hiding presents under Her dress.
From her shall break
the new water.
Like rivers to the mill
roots connect underground.
Pull one up
a star falls from the sky.
Joining mouth and tail
hands turn the heavens
—calendar, pitch pipe, so close,
you cannot slip a hair between.
The woman with her dragon horse
divines the path to paradise.
The second in a two‑part collaboration by Composer Edmund Campion and Poet John Campion, ME is a virtual, real‑time exploration of the rise and development of consciousness in its egotistical, patriarchal sense. The persona “ME” (represented by the sole baritone) grows through a series of archetypal and historic incarnations of the “Everyman as Superman.” The overall pattern in ME is metamorphic and recursive and expresses itself through the dynamic flow from the single voice processed electro‑acoustically and returned through the loud speaker. Here, the text and sound processes and content mirror and embody one another and are concerned with and make meaning through texture, density, strata, spatial placements, separation, and sound dynamics. The how of distinguishing IS the message. By the end of Me’s mytho‑historical journey, all previously processed states are available for recombination in what promises to be the finale’s controlled explosion–manifested as a virtual and fruitless whimper.
Structurally, the classic seven yogic steps move and move through ME:
1. Preconscious ME, Open Vowel Space
2. ME Building the Language Wall,
3. The Narcissus Canon of ME
4. ME in Romantic Song
5. ME Speaks to the Crowd
6. The Still Moving ME Rocket
7. Virtuality ME
A. The rise of a private self (ego)
B. A sense of separation or falling from Nature
C. Oppression of the other
D. Extraction from the other
E. Appropriation and usurpation of the other
F. Cancellation of the other
G. Disintegration of the self into simulation and virtuality
Section 1: Preconscious ME, open vowel space.
ME moves along a growing and socially more complex list of îURî vowel formations:
[for example: ohm‑oui‑(we) ye-ya-ee-me-am‑yah‑ma‑mama‑yahweh‑mazamao]
Section 2: The wall of language, individual time begins.
Hard syllables and complete words appear as building material:[for example: ka, ska, puh, ta, kla, Kli, ta, kup, up, I, eye, fuh, uck, dih, ick…you may hear others…]
I cut it!
I sex it!
I can cut time
Section 3: Conscious born as Narcissistic Canon.
I am am I am I am I am I am I am I I am am I am I am I am I am I am I I am am I am I am I am
I am I am I I am am I am I am I am I am I am I I am am I am I am I am Iam I am I I am am I am I am I am I am I am I…
shows the way.
Cover every mirror.
There is no other side.
I shall not walk backward
to sweep away
the greatness of my step.
I suck the lightning
from our body’s house,
set each blazing moment turning
like a wheel.
I am the center and…the center of that
I am burning…I am burning…
Section 4: Consciousness evolves into Ecstatic Song:
No form exists without me.
and the astral bodies
bend to the will.
Man, the most beautiful star,
a diamond, a lotus,
carries my boat
over the rising tide.
Thus shall I gather you
like animals two by two
upon our ark in protection
to ride the great ocean.
[Ba pa, pa pa, ba pao…]
Section 5: ME addresses the Crowd:
Art is filth and brings disorder to the world. We shall neutralize it with hygienic masks. Like a surgeon, we shall separate the siamese twins, cut the signifier from the signified. Now, gather the dolls your children speak with and lock them in a vault. If nature oppose, fight back and make her obey. She is a warehouse; take what is yours, for you are nothing but what you own. She is a brain; give her shock treatment! She is a library; burn her down. Her books are filth. I call upon you to wage a war for a thousand years of peace. The battle is everywhere and nowhere. It goes on forever.
We bury ourselves on our way,
For every creature must suffer.
Now we fear the stony objects‑‑roused at last to vengeance‑‑will dislodge the silent tongues from their ancient houses and climb onto the porches of our mouths and use our reason on us. The tree speaks all languages; we will burn it down, and our golden boy dip his ladle full of ashes. I am the axis mundi. When my bow snaps, a fire strikes and the pole star moves. Only I can waken the dead metals in your veins.
We bury ourselves on our way,
For every creature must suffer.
But we shall not allow these evil scum to make us their little mouse. Certainly we can imagine
circumstances, as I said, where they might use legal tricks and be decided, that is, voted on as innocent. They will be detained indefinitely. No one is safe. We are everywhere. Either you are with me or against me.
We bury ourselves on our way,
For every creature must suffer.
Let me breathe upon you
and unleash my storm,
raising the ground to uncover you.
Section 6: ME takes off in a rocket upwards that is static downwards:
My enemy hides in the dark. Her head’s the dark side of the moon. What happened is what’s going to happen. I am what I am what I am I am. That’s Me speaking‑‑cÈst moi‑‑and I should know.
Croooo Wieeeeeeeeeee Ooooo Weeeeeeeeeee
Broooo Eeeeeeeeeee Bloooo Weeeeeeeeee
Groooo Weeeeeeeeeee Dough Eeeeeeeeeeeeee
Knooo Weeeeeeeeeeeee Shooo Weeeeeeeeeeeee
Soooo Weeeeeeeeeee Throo Weeeeeeeeeeee
Section 7: Virtuality:
Time Zone Man
Come Eat Man
Wet Eye Man
Cock Bait Blue
Ate Out Moon
Mom Kill Kill
Moi Tot Die
We gathered the animals two by two upon an ark and took them out onto the great ocean. There we drowned them efficiently and in haste.
Lightning steel girders liquefied
all the people ride their electric eels
down the billowing smoke
up the padmas burst and gone to heaven.