Emily Dickinson was a reclusive, introspective New England poet. Jim Sagel was a poet/author from Colorado who fell in love with the richness of Hispanic culture and language. MIT composer/pianist/lecturer Charles Shadle finds a commonality between the two, and his recital of new works this Friday at 8pm in Killian Hall features compositions based on works by both writers: Six Dickinson Songs and Estrella Fugaz, a song cycle of poems by Mr. Sagel.
"Both are poets of epiphany, particularly epiphanies generated by small events or moments," claims Mr. Shadle. "There are enormous differences -- both are very specific, in terms of time and place, but they do carry on a wonderful conversation."
Mr. Shadle wrote Estrella Fugaz especially for the concert's special guest, baritone Carlos Archuleta, after discovering that Mr. Sagel was Mr. Archuleta's uncle. "I selected the poems, but they were certainly written for Carlos' voice and interpretive gifts," Mr. Shadle said.
Mr. Sagel, who was born and raised in northern Colorado, moved to Espanola, NM where he began his "re-education," learning to make adobe, speak Spanish and grow chiles. A writer of many books of poetry, fiction and nonfiction, in 1981 Mr. Sagel won the Premio Casa de los Americas award, widely regarded as the Latin American equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. For many years he was the director of Humanities and Southwest Studies at the University of New Mexico, Los Alamos.
Other featured artists at Friday's concert include MIT students Ole Nielsen (flute) and Dawn Perlner (violin) and MIT Affiliated Artist Margaret O'Keefe, who will perform Six Dickinson Songs. For more information about the concert, call x3-2826.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 25, 2000.