Back to Blog

Poems by A.R. Ammons Basis for New Song Cycle

A.R. Ammons
A.R. Ammons

Poems by North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee A.R. Ammons form the basis for a new song cycle by Raleigh composer Dr. J. Mark Scearce.

On Saturday, October 27 at 8:00 pm, the Mallarmé Chamber Players will present a concert of art songs, including the world première of a song cycle based on The Really Short Poems of A.R. Ammons. The concert will feature David Hartman, eleven-year host of Good Morning America, as narrator reciting Ammons’s poetry in advance of the work set to music. Titled “Good Music is Sc(e)arce,” the concert will be held at the Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Church in Durham.

Fresh back from a six-month sabbatical with a brand-new Mass and Symphony, Dr. Scearce has won six international music competitions, and his music has been recorded on seven commercial discs. In addition to his duties as Director of the Music Department at North Carolina State University, Scearce is a full tenured professor in the College of Design.

Archie Randolph Ammons (1926-2001) was a two-time winner of the National Book Award, plus the Bollingen Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry. He published nearly thirty volumes of poetry, including Glare (1997), Garbage (1993), A Coast of Trees (1981), Sphere (1974), and Collected Poems 1951-1971 (1972). His many honors included the American Academy of American Poets’ 1998 Tanning Prize, the Poetry Society of America’s Robert Frost Medal, and the Ruth Lilly Prize, as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Dr. Scearce is thrilled that some of his vocal music will be featured in an all-Scearce evening produced by Mallarmé. Scearce says of the program, “Words make you think. Music makes you feel. A song makes you feel a thought. All composers reveal the most about themselves in their songs. I am grateful to my friends at Mallarmé for presenting this evening of songs and singing, of feelings and thoughts, personal and profound and often funny.”

Individual tickets for the concert are available throughout the season by either calling the Mallarmé office at 919/560-2788 or by ordering online at In addition, there are four area retail outlets for tickets (cash or check only): High Strung Violins & Guitars and Morgan Imports in Durham, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, and Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh. Full details for ordering tickets can be found on Mallarmé Chamber Players’ website: