One Voice


I left the biggest space for it.


Have a hard time

thinking of it. Oh it’s supposed to be

so DEEP, go all the way down. Breathe into your pelvis,

into your feet. There comes a point


when you see that none of it is bullshit after all & at that point

no one wants to read your poems anymore. I probably peaked


at twenty-two. The universe is a breath

& every breath a universe. Oh god I’ve done it again:


took too big a breath, bigger than “natural.” Told my friend

I wasn’t sighing at her. I’m no longer a teenager. She’s good; she gets it.


The thing that got me hooked at first on breath

is how much warmer it is coming out than going in.


Come in, air around me! Is what I say in my mind, Come in and I’ll do something to you

& you’ll be the same again soon.

By Hannah Ensor


“One Voice” premiered June 2016 as part of the UMKC Composition Workshop by Megan Ihnen and Michael Hall and also performed as a part of Musica Nova in October 2016 by . A live recording of the premiere performance is available on Gibson’s soundcloud. The poem was initially part of a series that Garrett Schumann commissioned from Hannah to be included as part of his dissertation. I had the fortunate opportunity to meet Garrett this January 2015 at the New Music Gathering in Baltimore. Along with Michael Hall and Megan Ihnen, we decided the summer 2016 would be a perfect opportunity to all work together. Two composers approaching the same poet from different vantage points sharing instrumentation, with both pieces composed for mezzo-soprano and viola.

“One Voice” is intended to be exactly that. Each performer is charged with mimicking the phonetic sounds between one another: some are spoken, some sung and many (all!) played. The aim is to blend as much as possible with one another. The voice and the viola are closer than one might initially think. A big part of this idea came from the Asian ehru, an instrument inspired by the sound of wind. Humanly voiced, like the viola, mezzo is the natural compliment.

For me, Hannah’s poem reconciles coming to peace with personal empowerment. As an avid yoga practitioner, I love the anchoring voice in the poem.


“One Voice” was recorded fall 2016 and was released as a part of my 2nd CD through PARMA, Sky-born.


Duration: 8:25 minutes

Mara Gibson · One Voice (Ann Arbor performance, April 2017)