Wayne Horvitz Septet Honors Richard Hugo

An Evening of Music and Poetry
7:30pm, October 7, 2015
Wheeler Theater, Fort Worden, Port Townsend, WA
Produced by Centrum and Copper Canyon Press

Known for his multifaceted musical personality, composer/musician Wayne Horvitz ventures into progressively‑inclined acoustic jazz and ultra‑modern classicism in his latest project, Some Places Are Forever Afternoon. Written in honor of the iconic Northwest poet Richard Hugo (1923‑82), Some Places Are Forever Afternoon is a suite of 11 compositions based on the poems of Hugo.

Centrum is honored to welcome Horvitz and his septet in concert. During the performance, each of the poems referenced by Horvitz will be read by Bill Ransom, Frances McCue, Tree Swenson, Tom Aslin, and others (see end of post for list and bios).

“It is Hugo’s enduring love of music, rambling, and the places of the Northwest that inspired me to interpret his work.” Wayne Horvitz.

Richard Hugo

Richard Hugo was born in White Center, and lived throughout the Northwest before settling in Missoula, Montana. He taught poetry at the University of Montana, and is the inspiration for a plethora of writers of the west, including James and Lois Welch, William Kittredge, Frances McCue and countless others. The Richard Hugo House in Seattle is named in his memory. Hugo passed away in 1982.

From West Marginal Way to La Push to the Union Bar Grill in rural Montana, Horvitz followed Hugo’s footsteps and visited some of the people and places that inspired the writer.

(Listen below to KPTZ Special on Hugo/Horvitz)

“Having grown up in the culture of the 60s, I am always fascinated by the writers, poets, painters and musicians who were the precursors to the giant sea change that happened in the 60s.” Wayne Horvitz

Like much of Horvitz’s oeuvre, Some Places Are Forever Afternoon is skillfully constructed by combining jazz sonorities and harmonies in a composed structure. At times haunting, his imaginative collage of pre‑composed music peppered with improvisation exudes a jazz feel. According to Horvitz, the music directly reflects Hugo’s poems.

“Hugo’s poems are inherently musical because of the way they sound, the way they read, and the way they are structured. Consequently, the music is fairly structured, really instrumental songs, which is not typical of my work.” Wayne Horvitz


Written for septet, Some Places Are Forever Afternoon combines members of two of Horvitz’s most successful groups, Sweeter Than the Day and the Gravitas Quartet.

Horvitz, who turns 60 on Sept. 1, has gone from being a key figure on the 1980s downtown New York music scene (he was the first booker at the Knitting Factory in NY in 1986) to catalyst for another fertile scene in Seattle over the past two decades (he founded Seattle’s performance venue, The Royal Room, in 2011). Considered one of America’s most creative musicians, he has been called “delightful and original” by Mojo.


Musical Pieces, Corresponding Hugo Poems, Readers

1. Money or a story (The Milltown Union Bar) 3:34

Joseph Bednarik – Co-publisher of Copper Canyon Press, Port Townsend.

2. those who remain are the worst (Three Stops to Ten Sleep) 4:22

Bruce Bode – Minister at Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Port Townsend. Uses poetry extensively in services and has taught numerous courses on American poets.

3. you drink until you are mayor (Dixon) 4:44

Carl Youngmann – Northwind Arts board member; with Ellie Mathews operates North Press, a letterpress studio in Port Townsend.

4. Nothing dies as slowly as a scene (Death of the Kapowsin Tavern) 3:42

Bill Ransom – Northwest poet, co-founder of Centrum Writers Conference, Poetry in the Schools colleague of Richard Hugo and William Stafford. Most recent poetry from Blue Begonia Press:  The Woman and the War Baby.

5. all weather is yours no matter how vulgar? (Fairfield) 5:06

Amy Johnson – Participant in NW poetry slams; current volunteer coordinator for Port Townsend Marine Science Center.

6. the beautiful wives (Missoula Softball Tournament) 5:55

Tom Aslin – MFA student of Richard Hugo; poet and Hugo scholar. 2015 faculty member at Centrum Writers Conference, where he taught about Hugo.

7. for Jim and Lois Welch (Cataldo Mission) 2:18

Deborah Hammond – Port Townsend poet, singer, instrumentalist, has always believed that music is poetry and poetry is music. She’s grateful to be at a wedding of the two.

8. in some other home (The Only Bar in Dixon) 5:17

Walter Parsons – Former executive director of KCTS Seattle, former board director of Copper Canyon Press.

9. The car that brought you here still runs (Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg) 10:27

Frances McCue – Co-founder and first director of Richard Hugo House, Seattle. Co-author of The Car That Brought You Here Still Runs, (UW Press, 2010) in which she and photographer Mary Randlett take a sentimental journey through Richard Hugo’s triggering towns of Montana, Idaho and Washington.

10. last place there (for Richard Hugo – No Poem) 3:28

11. You must have stayed hours (Driving Montana) 4:14

Katrina Hays – Former opera singer and river guide before finding her way to writing. Her poetry and essays have appeared in numerous publications. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University, and lives in Bend, Oregon.

12. Some places are forever afternoon (West Marginal Way) 4:13

Tree Swenson – Executive director of Hugo House, the writers center in Seattle. She previously directed the Academy of American Poets in New York for ten years. She was also executive director of Copper Canyon Press, which she co-founded.

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