In the Mad Moonlight: 4 Poems of Louis Jenkins


Medium voice, piano–9′

A short cycle of 4 songs to poems by Minnesota poet Louis Jenkins, composed for mezzo-soprano Clara Osowski.

Preview the score:



In the Mad Moonlight: 4 Poems of Louis Jenkins

four smiling people

Clara Osowski, Sonja Thompson, Steve Kaul, DET outside Wild Sound studio, 2021

Medium voice and piano
9′ duration
Text: Louis Jenkins, from The Mad Moonlight, 2019
Commissioned by Schubert Club for mezzo-soprano Clara Osowski with funding provided by Barbara Brown and John Michel 
in memory of Louis Jenkins.
Premiere: February 10, 2022 by Clara Osowski, mezzo and Sonja Thompson, piano, St. Paul, Minn.

  1. Oklahoma
  2. Water
  3. Chekhov and Heisenberg
  4. Hey Diddle Diddle

Program Note

Louis Jenkins

Louis Jenkins reading

Louis Jenkins is one of the contemporary masters of the prose poem. Born in Oklahoma, Jenkins lived near Duluth, Minnesota, for over 30 years. The author of many books, his late poetry collections included Where Your House Is Now: New and Selected Prose Poems (Nodin Press, 2019), In the Sun Out of the Wind (2017), Before You Know It: Prose Poems 1970-2005 (2009), European Shoes (2008), and North of the Cities (2007). His work was regularly featured on the radio show A Prairie Home Companion. His brief, accessible prose poems use humor, wry observation, and hypothesis to tease out the absurdity of everyday situations. In his poems, Jenkins maintained a tight focus on the mundane particularities of ordinary existence, using deliberately flat language to comic and often heartbreaking effect. Louis Jenkins died in late 2019.

In the Mad Moonlight: 4 Poems of Louis Jenkins was composed on pandemic time in 2021 for Clara Osowski, 2020. It is part of a commissioning project funded by Barbara Brown and John Michel to bring the words of Louis Jenkins to song. The work was premiered by Clara Osowski and Sonja Thompson on February 10, 2022 at Landmark Center in a Schubert Club Courtroom Concert, St. Paul, Minn.


To respect copyright, only the first lines are given.


I love this open and rolling prairie,
the vast blue sky
But towns, grain elevators, oil wells, refineries…all
. . . .


Water does not want
to be contained.
. . . .


I tell my brother-in-law
that we stayed in the hotel where
. . . .


I like the high times as much as anyone,
the music and the jokes, flowers, laughter.
. . . .

From The Mad Moonlight: Poems © 2019 by Louis Jenkins.
Published by The Nodin Press. Used by kind permission of Ann Jenkins.





There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “In the Mad Moonlight: 4 Poems of Louis Jenkins”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like…