Eric McElroy is an American pianist and composer who released his debut album, Tongues of Fire, in March 2023 on Somm Recordings. He wrote the songs to accompany poems from modern poets W.S. Merwin, Gregory Leadbetter, Grevel Lindop, Alice Oswald, and Robert Graves. The poems are sung by acclaimed English tenor James Gilchrist and McElroy performs on piano.
McElroy graduated from Washington State University and then continued his postgraduate education in Vienna and Oxford University.
In this episode, Washington State Magazine editor Larry Clark talks with McElroy about the new album, his creative process, poetry, walking, and his influences at WSU and beyond.
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Krist Novoselić, Ray Prestegard, and Robert Michael Pyle
Murky Slough Music: 2019
This eleven-track acoustic folk offering celebrates the natural world with profound but approachable spoken-word verse inspired by the cycles of life and sciences of ecology and geology. Armed with a PhD from Yale University and sense of curiosity about and reverence for the biosphere, Robert Michael Pyle—a lepidopterist, naturalist, and award-winning writer—presents compelling poetry that explores the intertwined fates of humans and nature.
Pyle, largely considered the godfather … » More …
Robert Michael Pyle on butterflies, Bigfoot, becoming a Nirvana fan, and working with legendary grunge musician Krist Novoselić (’16 Soc. Sci.) on an album ten years in the making
It started with a book-signing. That led to some beer-drinking, which led to lots of Grange meetings and—finally—recording.
Throughout the better part of a decade, award-winning author, lecturer, and lepidopterist Robert Michael Pyle worked on a spoken-word album in which poetry about the natural world meets acoustic instruments played mostly by grunge icon Krist Novoselić (’16 Soc. Sci.), founding member of and bassist for Nirvana.
Butterfly Launches from Spar Pole, released last fall, began with … » More …
Virginia F. Smith ’97 PhD Biochem.
Clemson University Press: 2018
“Art,” said the Roman philosopher Cicero, “is born of the observation and investigation of nature.”
He said this two millennia before the arrival of Robert Frost, the New England poet who smuggled personal, subtle, and often dark themes into a vast, accessible, and popular body of work rooted largely in the natural world. As Virginia Smith notes in her fastidious A Scientific Companion to Robert Frost, … » More …
Washington State University landscape architecture professor and poet Jolie Kaytes reflects on the complex emotions and rational considerations about the Columbia River watershed through poems that give new ways to consider our part in the stories of the River.
A tongue stopping “f”
with a soft “ish,”
tied to a tight lipped “h”
caught on “ook.”
Hard to swallow.
Where the Palouse Band gathered,
homed their family bones
now buried by the Snake River’s
stopped up waters, slow and dumb.