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Poetry, piano, electronics merge in 'Uncanny Valley'

October 31, 2013

Contemporary poetry and music blend in this performance by special guests Oni Buchanan, piano, and Jon Woodward, poet.

Tuesday, November 5
7:30 p.m.
Organ Recital Hall
University Center for the Arts
1400 Remington Street

Melding of poetry, piano, electronics

In collaboration with the Creative Writing Reading Series (Department of English) at Colorado State, the University Center for the Arts presents a performance/reading of the hypnotic Uncanny Valley, written by Jon Woodward, composed by John Gibson.

The performance will be a collaboration of spoken word, piano, and electronics by special guests Oni Buchanan, piano, and Jon Woodward, poet. 

Review of Woodward's poem

Andrew Field reviewed Woodward's poem in

“'Huge dragonflies aim at your face.'” Not the happiest predicament to be in, but even with the first line, we can see how a kind of surreal and sonic landscape opens out.

"Reading the first line, we might hear the buzzing of the dragonflies just as much as we see them 'aiming' at our face. The poem, like the dragonflies, is an assault on our imaginations."


  • $7 for CSU Students
  • $1 for youth (under 18)
  • $12 for adults

Tickets are available at the University Center for the Arts (UCA) Ticket Office in the UCA Griffin Lobby, by phone at (970) 491-ARTS (2787), or online.

Advance purchase is recommended to avoid at-the-door fees.

Music reflects poem text

Uncanny Valley is a long serial poem in 16 sections, meant to be read aloud, with numerous optional repeats throughout the text. These repetitions act as accumulations of sound and, along with the music, can be maddening as well as hypnotic.

“The Creative Writing Reading Series seeks to present students with diverse readers and performances,” said Mary Ballard, assistant director of the series in CSU’s Department of English.

Although the pacing is determined by the two performers, the musical specificity of each section reflects the poem text in ever-different ways. Digital samples triggered by the reader enmesh the piano and spoken text, haunting the music with echoes of itself.

Crossing mediums, genres

Composed by John Gibson, his music couples with the spoken word poetry of Jon Woodward and a piano performance by Oni Buchanan to create an environment in which the text and music can truly blossom.

“Woodward's collaboration with pianist Oni Buchanan is an example of the exciting innovation occurring in contemporary poetry, a crossing of mediums and genres.”

This program searches out what is most uncanny, and most human, in both language and music.

Contact: Carrie Care
Phone: (970) 491-5891