photo: Michael Bartmann

Excerpts from  A Lily Lilies, Poems by Josey Foo, Notes on Dance by Leah Stein

 January, 2011 from Nightboat Books.

For more information on the book, including purchase, please click here.


On the following pages are excerpts from the book A Lily Lilies, a book of poems and dance notes by Leah Stein and me.  I wrote the poems, Leah the dance notes.

Leah has always been a dancer and choreographer, while I have trained in different things and traveled to different places, staying not long in any place.  I've worked for the Navajo people for more than 10 years, presently serving in the judicial branch of tribal government, which is the longest I've stayed in any place. 

In the southwest desert, poetry and movement makes sense. Distant memories make no sense.  Making a life with your own hands and being accountable for every thought are finalities that come to life.

Our book combines the traditional and the experimental in poetry and dance, weaving together desert and imagined landscapes.  It mixes the genres of poetry and dance, and the mediums of writing, pictures and movement.

A poem begins each piece.  The piece continues in most instances into Leah’s notes for dance which are preliminary instructions for physical movement and staging.  Throughout the book are pictures of natural spaces, or of dancers within no particular space in order to emphasize the space of the language.  The physical world we inhabit, and our internal and invented spaces, are each met partway using a variety of tools.  While the actual staging cannot be presented in book form, we hope that the use of multi-media here conveys some sense of the kind of craft and invention that begins it. 

Much of A Lily Lilies continues our first collaboration, Imprint: A Dance Performance of Movement Poems, which premiered at the Philadelphia Arts Bank Theater on May 10, 2002.  Imprint was done very fast and the writing reflected that speed.

Influences on this work are the diverse cultures of the Southwest as well as the Asian and urban East Coast sensibilities of the authors.  The works of poets Rene Char, Rosmarie Waldrop, the artist Robert Smithson, the composer, performer and humanitarian Pauline Oliveros, the choreographer Deborah Hay, and the activist writer, theorist and curator Lucy Lippard have all influenced this work.

This work has involved the mapping of spaces through language, of language through movement, and of both space and movement through pictures.  Ultimately, we map each other. 

We hope this little book will find its way to your places.




and please visit Leah Stein Dance Company