Todd Boss and John Barbetta- Poetry

Todd Boss

Todd Boss, a critically-acclaimed poet, librettist, public artist, and film producer, holds a diverse career with a passion for collaboration. His works for both page and stage have been read and produced throughout the world.

Boss’s 2008 poetry debut Yellowrocket was followed by Pitch in 2012 and Tough Luck in 2017, all from W. W. Norton & Co. Todd’s poems have appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, The London Times, The New Yorker, NPR, Best American Poetry, and Virginia Quarterly Review, which called Yellowrocket “one of the year’s 10 best poetry books” and awarded Todd the Emily Clark Balch Prize. Yellowrocket was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award and was named a Midwest Booksellers’ Honor Book for Poetry. Pitch was also a Minnesota Book Award finalist and won the Midwest Booksellers’ Choice Award.

With a strong sensitivity to the marriage of words and music, Todd has worked closely with composers as a librettist and lyricist. His first evening-length opera, Panic, a verse retelling of Knut Hamsun’s 1896 novella Pan and collaboration with Boston Conservatory’s Andy Vores, premiered in 2014. Most frequently, Boss collaborates on libretti for choral and dramatic works with award-winning composer Jake Runestad. Together, Todd and Jake have written commissioned works for the Choral Arts Society of Washington D.C., the Dallas Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, the Larimer Chorale & Orchestra, Cal State Long Beach, and others. Their collaborations have been heard around the world at venues such as New York’s Carnegie Hall, Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center, and Minneapolis’s Orchestra Hall.

Deeply interested in allowing anyone to encounter meaningful art, Todd is also a public artist. In a 2012 public art installation, Todd anchored 35 oversized life rings in the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis to mark the 5th anniversary of the 35W Bridge collapse. He paired the month-long installation with his 35-poem cycle, “Fragments for the 35W Bridge,” which the Star Tribune printed in its entirety on opening day. The project was a collaboration with Swedish artist Maja Spasova. Todd’s second installation, a monumental poetry film projection onto the entire block-wide facade of Saint Paul’s historic Union Depot, had its debut in October 2014. In 2017, he unveiled the world’s first public transit virtual reality experience with “Chaos on the Green Line,” a wordless VR poem that can only be experienced on the Green Line LRT train in Saint Paul, using the “Chaos on the Green Line” app and a cardboard viewer.

Todd’s passion for helping contemporary poetry reach a wider audience led him to become the founding Executive and Artistic Director of Motionpoems, the world’s only poetry film company. Motionpoems’ annual season of 15-20 films premieres annually at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and has had showings across the country from Los Angeles to New York City. More at

Todd lives in Minneapolis where he teaches at the Loft Literary Center, has served on the board of directors of Ten Thousand Things Theater Company, and has been artist in residence at the Target Studio at the Weisman Art Museum of the University of Minnesota. Learn more at

John Barbetta

I am a retired professor of performing arts, theater in education, dramatic literature and indisplinary projects.I am Founding Executive Director of Emerson College’s European program,Kasteel Well, The Netherlands. I have been honored to receive Regional and multi- National Grants for my work in theatre, theater in education, historical dramas as writer/director. My poetry has been published and performed at any number of local and European venues. Barbetta-Tenth Muse, “the passionate dance of poetry and music,” debuted at the Sofitel Minneapolis. We then had the pleasure to perform selected works at the iconic Shakespeare and Company, Paris.

The reviews from David Applefield, editor/publisher of Paris based international literary magazine, FRANK, were heartening. Other crtitiques and reader/listener comments can be found on the Barbetta-Tenth Muse web site.

The newest project, Vital Signs, has been chosen for publication and e book release by Kiwai Media, Inc., Paris.

Appearances locally and in Europe are planned. A follow on project is already in progress.

“Tenth Muse” has a singular goal: to inspire. It will challenge the listener / reader / thinker to reflect, to envision, to participate. The nine Muses of ancient Greek mythology were seen as the source of inspired written and spontaneous poetry and music. Mousa is a common Greek noun signifying, not only a type of goddess, it literally means “song” or “poem”. To carry a mousa is “to sing a song”. This is our mousa. This collection of music and poetry is our song. Our uncompromising hope is that you might take time to, not just listen, but feel. May we all become aware of the wonders all around us. May that awareness fill our lives with joy. May our minds be moved to thoughts of peace. Our hearts compel us to acts of love. May you become for others “The Tenth Muse”.

The lofty goals and objectives: Vital Signs

Objectives: To reveal the value and beauty of humanity and nature which often go unnoticed, unacknowledged. To strengthen empathic response in the minds, and hearts of the audience. To compel all who become aware of our work to thoughts of peace and acts of love. To optimize our awareness of what it means to be human. Super objective: To contribute to the creation of the more just, peaceful, loving world of which we sometimes dream. We will keep you posted on the progress.

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