Darwin Speaks. Or Sings. Or Plays.

Poets are being invited to participate in a project of the American Philosophical Society and Network for New Music. See the Museum of the Philosophical Society's new exhibition, Dialogues With Darwin. Write a poem. And then one of a dozen or more young composers from local universities will set the poem to music. The resulting works will be performed by the Network at Benjamin Franklin Hall in February, 2010.

The Network recently showed what a process like this can yield with a concert at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where composers wrote works inspired by art in that collection. But why Darwin - what's the connection? Even sophisticated culture vultures are surprised to find out that the largest archive of Darwin material outside of Cambridge is here in town at the American Philosophical Society.


So what's in this show? Dialogues with Darwin has "letters, as well as rare first editions, sumptuous illustrated books, and manuscripts that follow the evolution of Darwin’s big idea—evolution through natural selection," the society says.

We'll be following the project from time to time on ArtsWatch (as we tracked another APS project last season) between now and the premiere of the new works in February.

The deadline to submit poems is June 1.