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Crescendo - Inspired by Rita Dove’s “Soprano”

CAS for Database

Kaylee Morris

Seattle, Washington

Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences


When you alter

the intensity

of your tone, watch

the crest of

the wave as

it builds,

preparing to pounce

headfirst onto land—

but the thrill isn’t

in the


nor the tension


vulnerability, strain)


as voices waver

and grasp

for air, fish

sending bubbles to

the ocean’s surface…

how do we determine

ferocity from fragility,

which dominates, which

tries to swim but

ends up drowning?


If you have not yet read Rita Dove’s “Soprano”, now is the time—“Crescendo” emulates “Soprano” incredibly skillfully, but conveys something new all the same (and I’m grateful to the author for introducing me to both). The quick, lilting rhythm and powerful, clarifying last lines make this poem worth several rereads.

Kaylee Morris, an 18-year-old high school senior, attends Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences and will graduate in 2021. She is a passionate jazz vocalist, dancer, actress, and artist. Morris has always enjoyed creative writing but just began focusing on poetry this year while taking a Creative Writing class under the instruction of poet, Lauri Conner. Morris plans to go off to college next year and study environmental policy and education.


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