Sight by Kwame Dawes (poem) & Kevin Simmonds (music & commentary))


“Sight” (link below) isnt pretty and neither is the music. A maddeningly dominant C pedal tone breaks only to underscore “They do not see the soft” and returns with “eyes of a child.” The composition uses repetition, fragmentation and distortion to convey, as the poem does, the blindness of the Rwandan Civil War—the casualties, the children, the blunt machinery of war. I do not include the final stanza in which “should” becomes “must” because, in musical time, the composition never reaches the end of the poem. “Sight” is unlike any setting I’ve done of Kwame’s poems. [1]

—Kevin Simmonds

Audio of “Sight”

—Kwame Dawes (poem) & Kevin Simmonds (music)

A part of Respect Due: Symposium on the Work of Kwame Dawes

[1] Simmonds further reflects on this work and other collaborations with Dawes in his essay “Seven for Kwame.”


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