© 2022 KALW 91.7 FM Bay Area
KALW Public Media / 91.7 FM Bay Area
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Caroline Weeks: 'I Shall Go Back'

Edna St. Vincent Millay, an American poet and the first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, is the inspiration for Caroline Weeks' debut solo album, Songs For Edna. From "I Shall Go Back," the first of Millay's poems that Weeks stumbled across in an old book of American poetry, Weeks says she was struck by the beautiful imagery and "felt like the poem was always meant to be sung," so she picked up a guitar and the music came flooding out.

No stranger to the music scene, Weeks also lent her talents to British compatriot Natasha Khan's project, Bat For Lashes. Unlike the high production value of the two Bat For Lashes albums Weeks contributed to, Songs For Edna has an intimate and stripped down sound. Weeks says she wanted "to allow the music space to breathe" and chose to keep the instrumentation minimal, largely to allow for Millay's words to have a full impact on the listener without the music overshadowing or hindering the reception of the lyrics.

Songs For Edna was recorded in Weeks' home over the course of just three nights. Many of the tracks are first takes. Choosing such a brief recording process was intentional on Weeks' part. "I very much wanted to capture the magic of the new songs," she states. "I think the silence in between the sound is just as important as the sound itself."

In addition to her work with Bat For Lashes and with Millay's poetry, Weeks enjoys writing her own lyrics and typically includes both the Edna songs and a few of her own songs when she performs. Weeks also recently did a cover of "The Drowning Man" for a tribute album to The Cure, and she arranged an Emily Dickinson poem for the London Word Festival.

Download this song in the Second Stage podcast.

Yesterday's Second Stage artist.

Submit Your Music

Email host Robin Hilton.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Rachel Kowal