prayer: that in someone else’s breath
your name sound like the hand that stirred you,
that it turn out you were just tired
This process was interesting for me, as I read and write poetry myself, but have never directly communicated poetry through my saxophone, which is my main medium as an artist. I tend to think of writing and saxophone playing as separate things for me, creatively speaking. I found this poem to be a good one for me to go through this process, Yanyi's poem resonated with me quite a bit.
I read the poem "At Home in the Sky," numerous times over the course of the last week, so it had been floating around in my head throughout the week. The nature of my work is improvisational, so I sat down and recorded a few different improvised takes on my saxophone with the poem in my head (as well as in front of me so I could glance at it) while I played. My music is quite introspective, even when playing in front of a live audience, so a poem of this nature lent itself well to this exercise. Overall I enjoyed the process a lot and would perhaps think of incorporating this sort of thing into my work more often.
Kate Mohanty is an avant-garde saxophonist based in Brooklyn. Kate is an active member of Brooklyn's music scene, committed to the process of improvisation, especially in the live setting. Mohanty's debut solo recording, The Double Image, was released via cassette in April 2017. The Double Image was named to Avant Music News Best of 2017.