Artistic Differences

One of the unexpected kicks of being at the Atlantic Center for the Arts is being here with artists from other disciplines and observing professional differences of behavior. My composers and I are here with poets, who are working with Marie Ponsot, and architects, working with Steve Badanes. The poets are mostly middle-aged women, and, as they themselves were the first to point out, all arrived wearing scarves, even the men – not thick, cold-weather scarves, but tasteful, decorative, muted-color, poetic scarves. The male architects are big, beefy guys who shave their heads, and the women are tall and thin. They think it’s funny that we composers are all joined at the hip to identical Mac laptops, and I’m sure it does look comical. On the first day we got a tour of the studios. The music studio has a sound system, computers, several MIDI controllers, a piano, mixers, and so on, and the visual art sudio has machines for cutting wood and metal and lots of heavy equipment. Then we went to the poetry studio, which contained: a paper cutter. The poets didn’t even bring computers, and walk around with nothing but pencils and paper. The composers spend the first 20 minutes of any event trying to get all their technology to work. We’re all artists, with the same aspirations and complaints, but it’s humorous how different – and how predictably so – our day-to-day lifestyles are.


  1. Laura says

    All *travelling* poets wear scarves–that’s so we don’t have to pack much, but can still feel as if we are wearing something new.
    Either that or maybe we just want to hide from the musicians so we bring something to duck our heads under or stuff our ears with (or to tie up our . . . wait, that’s more than you need to know).
    Laura, scarf-wearing poet married to a musician

  2. Maude Lynne says

    Dear Andrew,
    Are you telling us that your head is not shaven and you have no scarf?

  3. T.Cather. says

    Im a scarf wearing poet.
    I didnt realise this was symbolic to poetry but Im happy it is.
    Keep wearing the noose!