“Eight Personal Ads,” a musical performance of poems from Beth Gylys’ “Matchbook”
7:30 p.m. April 29
Kopleff Recital Hall, 10 Peachtree Center Ave., Atlanta
ISO Undertaker's Daughter
By Beth Gylys
I don't do beaches, romance or dinners out.
If that's what you want, call the other ads.
I'd like a girl in black or mismatched plaids.
Someone who's master of the perfect pout,
her mouth puckered, her lipstick plum. A girl
who likes the feel of glass against her skin.
What she does is what she loves. She's thin
and hard, a little mean. The kind of girl
most men are scared of-that's the one for me.
I like warm beer and psychedelic rock.
I used to have a band called Crusty Jock.
Now I work on websites. I'm twenty-three,
and bored with clueless whiny snobs in suits.
I dream of dark nights, you in thigh-high boots.
A staple of newspapers and the online dating world, the personal ad also serves as inspiration for “Matchbook,” a chapbook of sonnets by Beth Gylys, an associate professor of English at Georgia State.
“I always liked personal ads — I thought they were fun to read, and I thought it would be fun to write,” said Gylys.
Eight of the sonnets from “Matchbook” will be performed by soprano Sharon Stephenson and tenor Richard Clement April 29 at Kopleff Recital Hall. Composer Dan Welcher, a friend of Gylys, set the poems to music.
“After I wrote them, they felt performance-oriented,” Gylys said. “They were all written for different personalities and voices.”
The poems detail searches for love from all walks of life, and Gylys said she found that the sonnet, with its structure emphasizing a change in the middle of the poem, was a natural fit for her subject matter.
“The personal ad really has a two-part structure: This is who I am and what I’m like, and then it switches and says this is what I want,” she said. “A sonnet has an eight-line opening and usually a six-line closing, but it usually has a turn in the middle.”
The performance aspect also highlights the humor in the poems, Gylys said.
“I love that something I’ve written can take on a new form and can be explored through music,” she said. “There’s so much fun and richness about the poems that you wouldn’t really read on the page.”
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