What Is the Matter in Amy Glennon?

1989, 27:30 min.
Sheila Davies Sumner

In What is the Matter in Amy Glennon?, Sheila Davies Sumner showcases her interest in the connection between the physical and metaphysical, storytelling, science, and psychology, as well as her agility with words and quick wit. The piece simultaneously tells and constructs the story of Amy Glennon, whose body and mind have been separated by “The Great Fathers of Science,” as she reckons with her consciousness, relationship to the quantum, and the bitterness of self-knowledge, and transmutes it into a marriage of philosophy and science, and wisdom in the form of paper cups of hot coffee. The story is told alternatingly by a narrator and by Amy herself, accompanied by a chorus, and is worked and re-worked within itself in an auction-house whose auctioneer takes bids on the content, direction, and meaning of the text. Deeply philosophical, the piece is filled with rapid-fire confetti blasts of references to mythology, science, metaphysics, philosophers, theorists, artists, and subconscious symbolism, playfully hurrying the listener on in a delightful almost giddy pace towards the center of human and universal thought and experience. In its many transmutations, twists, and turns, the piece encourages the listener to reflect on storytelling, identity, the relationship between science and philosophy, and the very nature of being in both the physical and metaphysical senses. Some listeners may feel compelled to listen again and again to follow the various paths, references and trains of thoughts. The script of the piece can be read on the New American Radio archive. - Described by Wave Farm Radio Artist Fellow 2020/2021, Jess Speer.

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