For the second annual Vancouver International Song Institute, an “Art Song Lab” was hosted at the University of British Columbia. The program paired poets and composers to create new works. I was paired with Rodney Robertson, who created a sublime poem that explored the dichotomy between the fast-paced life demanded by the modern metropolis and the calm, introspective worship promoted by Buddhist philosophy. The poem was packed with musically pregnant imagery, and practically composed itself. It is some of my most powerful writing, juxtaposing harmonically-rich contemporary minimalism with a chorale-like architecture, created an exciting, dramatic piece, premiered expertly by Phoebe MacRae and Laura Loewen.