Claudia Gary Annis

Claudia Gary Annis is a poet and composer who lives in Leesburg, Virginia. Her chapbook "Ripples in the Fabric" was published by Somers Rocks Press (Brooklyn, NY) in 1996. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals including Sparrow, The Formalist, The Lyric, Orbis (U.K.), Pivot, Poetry Digest, Edge City Review, Loudoun Art Magazine, Light Quarterly, and others.

Her musical works, which have been performed in a number of U.S. cities (see below), include chamber music and art songs based on poems by contemporaries such as Frederick Turner, Dana Gioia, Phillis Levin, Frederick Feirstein, and Marilyn Marsh; as well as settings of classics by Shakespeare, Marvell, Heine, et al. One of Claudia's art songs—a setting for soprano, violin, and cello of Shakespeare's "Sonnet XVIII" ("Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?")—appeared in issue 60 of Sparrow, the Yearbook of the Sonnet.

Along with concerts of her chamber music and art songs, Claudia Gary Annis has given readings of her poems in a number of U.S. cities including Boston, New York, Washington, DC; as well as Reston, Vienna, Lynchburg, and Leesburg, Virginia. She is a contributing editor of The Edge City Review, once-and-future editor/publisher of Musings from Northern Virginia, and current northern regional Vice President of the Poetry Society of Virginia. Ongoing PSV activities include the monthly Leesburg Poetry Exchange, a discussion/workshop led by widely esteemed poet, critic, and performer Richard Moore.

You can visit her web site, which we highly recommend, by clicking here.

To a Postmodernist Concert Director

Please, sir, what is this oddity?
I came to listen, not to see
the latest shapely prodigy
or hunk of virtuosity
play cricket-chirps in harmony
(or not). Though I have sympathy
for some composers-wannabee,
their burpings make me colicky.
Lest I be forced to solemnly
return to Tenorolatry,
please schedule (if you follow me)
more music, and less -ology.

Published in Edge City Review

The Topiarist

Out of a stately helical display
Of shrubbery, new leaves poke into view:
The topiarist has been called away

Or so I hope. Maybe his mind's astray,
Letting once-hidden branches reach askew
Out of a stately helical display.

Dignified structures spiked with disarray
Regress to common unschooled English yew.
The topiarist has been called away

To shape his own life, and his protégé
Has found its sense of humor. Look what grew
Out of a stately helical display:

Stalks make alarming gestures as they sway
In wind, claiming the recognition due
The topiarist. He's been called away

And suddenly each leaf's on holiday.
A gentle spiral yields to curlicue
Out of a stately helix: Let us play!
The topiarist has been called away.

Published in The Formalist

Trading Up

It wasn't quite enough
rejoicing in each other
for qualities that overran the cup—

But, having checked the stars,
her broker, and his mother,
they're satisfied they both have traded up.

Published in The Formalist

Song of the Off-Duty Psychiatrist

I'm feeling "inappropriate" today—
lame euphemism, but at least it limps
where logic creeps. Don't look at me that way.

I gave all at the office. I'm blasé.
Who wouldn't be? What a parade of gimps!
I'm feeling inappropriate. Today

They crowded me, telling me what to say,
pursuing me—wild satyrs, wicked nymphs,
illogical creeps! Don't look at me that way—

I'll name your passions till they melt away,
then medicate you like those other wimps—
I'm feeling inappropriate today!

All right, all right, you've had a good display
of how this job distorts me. Yes, it crimps
my logic. Cripes, don't look at me that way!

It's just that, when I thought all disarray
was cured by naming it, there came a glimpse
of feeling. Inappropriate today;
logic must creep ... Don't look at me that way!

Published in Medicinal Purposes

Teletype, circa 1976

No other medium could grant our wish
to dance together on a gleaming floor
of coated newsprint, clasping one another's
next letter in a frantic reach of words.

No telephone could replicate the warm
click-clicking of our heels disguised as keys,
stepping across the platen on white paper
and through kilometers of humming wire.

No e-mail could have let me hear you think
between the words, some slow, some at a clip,
some waiting for my answer's foot to fall
or skittering away from other questions:

—when can we speak again? where can I see you?—
the hurried editing, the mingled phrases
no longer filling anything but paper.
And then the keys grew cool, the wire quiet.

Published in Edge City Review