Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Committee Chair

Christopher Goertzen

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Jonathan Yarrington

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Kimberley Davis

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Maryann Kyle

Committee Member 4 School


Committee Member 5

Douglas Rust

Committee Member 5 School



This dissertation presents a two-fold discourse, first to provide a contextual source for singers interested in 20th century composer Louise Talma, and second to provide an analytical guide to Talma’s adaption of Wallace Stevens’ poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird for voice, oboe, and piano. Though Talma’s composition never became renowned, it is both a commendable achievement and a highly sophisticated work, interweaving musical creativity with the extra-musical stimuli borne from the personal experiences of the composer.

The body of the document will feature four main chapters. The first chapter will introduce composer Louise Talma, the second will introduce poet Wallace Stevens. The third chapter will discuss the connection between the two artists, and the fourth chapter will provide the analytical guide for Thirteen Ways. Supplementary appendices include interview transcripts, an IRB letter, a letter of permission from MacDowell Colony, and an engraved copy of the score. A list of musical examples is provided.