The News from Poems – ensemble chamber opera 2015, 110′

Genius   Ambition

What happens to those in the wake
Of such magnetic, cyclonic energy?

William Carlos Williams, his wife, Flossie, and Ezra Pound

Based on the work and correspondence of William Carlos Williams
Used by permission: New Directions Publishing Corp.

William Carlos Williams – lyric baritone, 40 years old and 70 years old
Florence “Flossie” Williams – mezzo soprano, 35 and 65
Ezra Pound – bass baritone, 45 and 75
Tenor Soloist – Italian singer; Italian father; Bob McAlmon; Dr. Billy Williams

Ensemble – 12 SATB, 2 treble boys, 1 girl

The News from Poems is an ensemble opera in the Brechtian tradition: chorus members not only sing multiple small roles and cameos but also move sets, change costume in plain sight, participate invisibly in scenes, play instruments on stage, etc.  Minimal set.


Currently scored for vn, cl/ sax, vc, pno
Future arrangements for 7 players, 13 players or chamber orchestra


“The Little Sparrows”– (baritone Lee Poulis)
“Scene Along the Seine” – 1924 Paris, where WCW’s book is being published, thanks to Pound. Night, WCW and his wife are strolling along the Seine. Flossie is happily drunk and in love with Paris. Their very strained marriage has been doing wonderfully here, but suddenly their differences hit them full force. (Lee Poulis and Kara Cornell, Floss)

“So Many Evenings”– Floss tries to explain to her husband why she’s leaving him for a year, taking the two boys with her. (Roberta Gumbel, Floss)

“The Boys Are Settled” – Floss can finally breath, having settled the boys into their new school in Geneva. (Roberta Gumbel)

“I Never Hated the Woman In Your Life” – 1953, WCW has had a breakdown precipitated by an investigation by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Floss is left to pick up the pieces. (Roberta Gumbel)