I am not a romantic. I hate sentimentality. I actually dislike poetry. When I stumbled upon a book of poetry by Alan Dugan, my instant admiration and love of these works caught me completely off guard. Dugan is not your typical poet. His art is for grown-ups. The strength of his poetry is in the clarity of his vision. He invites the reader to walk directly into the truth—the frankness of his subject matter leaves nothing off limits. Dugan’s language is plain and direct. He writes about the daily experience readers hold an intrinsic understanding of. He means every word.
The three poems I have chosen, Gargoyle’s Song for the Warming Trend (from Poems 6, 1989), The Attempted Rescue (from Poems 3, 1967), and Untitled Poem (from Poems 4, 1974) all involve loss, regret, and abandonment. In setting these songs my goal was simple: to reflect the poet’s directness of thought and economy of means into the music. To this end, all the harmonic and motivic material was derived from the set (014), with the material expanding to (015) in the last poem. I am not aware of any other setting of Dugan’s poetry, and I believe this homage to be long overdue.