poetry sings


About Ellen Boscov

Artwork by  Tino Rodriguez

Artwork by Tino Rodriguez

Ellen Boscov

Multidisciplinary artist: composer, writer, performer 

Ellen Boscov, photograph by  Amelia Xanthe

Ellen Boscov, photograph by Amelia Xanthe

This is an exciting time for Ellen Boscov as a new composer. Her art song Green Tree has recently been released as a music video directed and produced by Carla Dauden. Long before Ellen studied music, she wrote the poem, Green Tree. A desire to set her poetry to music led her to learn about musical composition. Ellen also wrote the script for the Green Tree video. She found it very satisfying to bring her poetry, story and music together in this project.

Ellen’s full length drama THE ROSES ON THE ROCKS was produced by Manhattan Theatre Source in New York City. NOBODY’S MAMA, the first draft of The Roses on the Rocks, was a semi-finalist in the Cherry Lane Mentor Project in New York City. Her full-length comedy, DILLSBERRY U.S.A., was produced by the Marsh in San Francisco, CA. It received a Zellerbach Family Fund grant to support its production. It also received a showcase at the Cable Car Theatre's Off the Track Series in San Francisco and a staged reading at the Castillo Theatre in New York City. Ellen's full-length play, WE’RE JUST ONE HAWAIIAN DANCER, was produced at the Theatre Shoppe in Chicago, IL. Ellen wrote her first play, BUNNY HIPS, with Mary Louise Parker.

As a professional actor, Ellen has worked in numerous theatres including: Wisconsin Shakespeare Festival; Painted City Productions, Chicago; Palo Alto Players; Cable Car Theater, San Francisco; The Marsh, San Francisco; Western Edge Theater, San Francisco.  Ellen has also enjoyed performing improvisational movement and storytelling with Olivia Corson and Third Stone Production.

Ellen’s short stories were published by "Phoebe:  An Interdisciplinary Journal of Feminist Scholarship, Theory and Aesthetics;" Primal Voices;" and "American Writing: a magazine."

Ellen received her BFA from North Carolina School of the Arts. Further studies include: poetry writing with Leslie Ullman and Li-Young-Lee; playwriting with Will Dunne and Richard Caliban; canon and fugue composition with Professor Richard Brodhead (Temple University Boyer College of Music and Dance); music theory with Jordan Klein and David Carpenter; piano with Mark Livshits, Jordan Klein, David Trum and Avi Lasser; singing with Pia Ercole.

Ellen has worked as a teaching artist with California Poets in the Schools and Philadelphia Playwrights in the Schools. 

Twenty things about myself

Bunny with a fiery eye that I drew as a little girl

Bunny with a fiery eye that I drew as a little girl

  1. I’m a multidisciplinary artist. I find that different art forms feed each other. Acting teaches me how to write a character-driven play. Playwriting helps me sense the dramatic structure in my music. Music deepens and shapes the emotional content of my words. Poetry sings.
  2. I am a collector. I collect broken objects of heart. I collect bone fragments, old surgical tape, scraps of crashed motorcycle. I collect the powder on butterfly wings, the powder that sticks to your finger. I collect it and I taste it – sugar without sweetness. I collect sugar without sweetness. I collect broken wings and butterfly powder. I braid the hair of my deceased friend into my own. I collect a scream in red, through my spine to my head.
  3. I’ve discovered that I can ride a scream –it’s a lot like riding a broom. And when I ride a scream, the moon flies with me.
  4. When I look in the mirror, I see a monster with bulging eyes like a bug and a nose like a sword – not a strong hard sword – a soft flexible bent sword. I see my reflection, and I am Gonzo from the Muppet Show. That is who I’ve always been – too strange to fit in any one group, too weird to ignore and too in love with art to stop creating no matter how many times I blow myself up. Gonzo, "I shall now defuse this highly explosive bomb while simultaneously, and at the same time, reciting from the works of Percy Bysshe Shelley".
  5. Each night when I am half asleep I cry out, I want my mommy!
  6. My mother is the most beautiful woman in the world, but she doesn’t know it.
  7. When I was a child my mother used to say, Your father is a good man. I didn’t understand why this mattered, until I grew up and met evil.
  8. Soon after my daughter was born, I became a single mother. The love I felt for my baby and the love I was given as a child, guided me to overcome my shame and face some unusual and difficult circumstances. For years I put my creative energies toward nurturing and protecting my daughter. This was certainly the most important work I’ve ever done. I’m proud of it and of my truly wonderful daughter.
  9. I am one of three sisters who take turns saving each other.
  10. In the well of my subconscious, carnivorous fish swim around my hair, and sip the anguish I have met, and spit it out in lilies wet that decorate despair.
  11. The cakes I’ve made for my daughter’s birthdays have looked like a bunny coming out of a top hat, a bear having a picnic, and a waterslide party.
  12. When my daughter was in preschool, I wrote a story and a poem with every child in her class. I was taken by the newness in the children’s language – it was full of accidental metaphors.
  13. When my daughter was four years old, she told me that god is a little girl.
  14. When I was four years old, I drew a bunny with one ear and a fiery eye. I circled that bunny with a crayon. Later I regretted drawing that circle, because I feared the bunny would be stuck inside of it forever. My mother pointed out the determination in the bunny’s eye. This filled me with hope.
  15. Until I was in my 40’s, I believed I was tone deaf.  Now I can carry a tune and compose classical music.
  16. My husband was able to adopt my daughter when she turned eighteen. He swore under oath that he loves her.
  17. I feel less alone when I deeply relate to someone’s art, or when I believe someone is truly moved by my art. This gives me a sense that I am part of something greater than myself –we dream together!
  18. When I was twelve, I wrote in my journal that the ocean is angry because no one listens to it and sad because it cannot hear itself.
  19. The cruelty we suffer in life grows in silence. I write around themes of violation because I find hope in speaking out.
  20. Sometimes my hands hold a song, a play or a poem – a gift of love to be given to someone...anyone who relates. 

About the artwork on this website

I am very grateful to Tino Rodriguez for giving me permission to share his artwork on my website and next to my own work. I feel connected to Tino’s art in a way that can only be described as love. You can learn about Tino and see more of his art at tinorodriguez.com.