Why I Pity the Woman Who Never Spills

SSAA a cappella (women's)

A gutsy, sensual blues setting of Joan Wolf Prefontaine's poem in praise of messy women. Opening with waves of "spilling" words - spill, splatter, spot, spree, dribble, drabble, oozle - this piece is a rambunctious journey through a world of vocal inflections and joie de vivre, to be sung with nuance and abandon.


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Catalog Number: 
Commissioned By: 
Cornell University Chorus. Ithaca, NY
Premiere Conductor: 
Scott Tucker

Cornell University Chorus; Scott Tucker, conductor. Ithaca, NY
Good Company; Steven Hoifeldt, conductor. Ames, IA
Sine Nomine Chorus; Robert Bartalot, conductor. Denver, CO
Alumnae Chorus of San Francisco Girls Chorus; Susan McMane,, conductor. San Francisco, CA
University of North Carolina Women's Glee Club; Sue Klausmeyer, conductor. Chapel Hill, NC
Imagine!; Roberta Shimensky, conductor. Park City & Salt Lake City, UT


"Alexander's writing for women's chorus is especially good, and...her settings of subjects relating to women's issues are exceptionally strong." David N. Lewis, All Music Guide

Text Author or Source: 
Joan Wolf Prefontaine

"Why I Pity the Woman Who Never Spills"
Poem by Joan Wolf Prefontaine

For she misses the luxury of dribbling
marinara sauce on white silk,

of merlot falling at uproarious dinner
parties onto beige lace tablecloths,

picnics where mustard, baked beans,
toasted marshmallows and melted

chocolate all leave their winsome,
gregarious stains on Levis and lips.

For she misses the thrill and mess of it all:
hands infatuated with bread dough,

logic blemished all day with sly innuendoes
and double entendres, the child in the lap

with the histrionic green lime popsicle kiss,
the kettle with its secret military spices

longing in its heart of heart to spill the beans,
mangos eaten au natural in bathtubs,

sweet-talking, profane juices softening
the millstones and milestones of the body,

the plum's intemperate noddings in a neighbor's
nonchalant field, tartness oozing like ink

across obeisant fingers, strawberries,
caught red-handed in golden-straw beds,

falling upwards towards one's mouth -
small, fierce advocates of sumptuous rendezvous.

I say to her: Spill, Spurt, Squirt, Splash, Splatter,
Spot, Spree, Sprinkle, Dribble, Drabble, Oozle,

Offend, Transcend, Transude, Transgress, Transpire,
Perspire, Percolate, Partake, Propagate, Create!

© by Joan Wolf Prefontaine. Reprinted by permission.