The Trees The Trees


Kyle Vegter (The Trees, The Trees, 2018)


Robyn Mineko Williams


Heather Christle

Scenic and Lighting Design

Randall G. Chiarelli

Costume Design

Branimira Ivanova

Vocalist (2019)

Alicia Walter


28 minutes


4 women, 3 men


March 15, 2019; Pacific Northwest Ballet

The 2019 world premiere of Robyn Mineko Williams’ The Trees The Trees is principally supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation and Deidra Wager, with additional support from Ms. Toni Hoover & Mr. Alfred Nettles and T.R. Ko. Music commissioned by the Charles and Joan Gross Family Foundation.


The Trees The Trees sparked a spectacular collage of imagery in my mind that I wanted to bring to life through movement. Each of the piece’s vignettes is built on a poem from the book, inspiring a mélange of scenes rooted in the everyday and sprinkled with fantastical, heart-punching moments. —Robyn Mineko Williams

The Trees The Trees

Words: Heather Christle


microwave doubles as a nightlight      this is that other song      the one that likes to sing itself      and stops      microwave has a note      a chord strikes as light strikes      you can’t sleep in it      you might want to defrost this hunk of beef      I thought figuratively      there was no beef      there was refrigerator      I usually misspell refrigerator      spell-check this hunk of beef      microwave      what you rearrange is everything      that’s where the heat      a form of fright      comes from      welcome to Miami      came the song      from in the stroller      way down inside the stroller      sang the man      inside the baby


I am a handbag      I am the kind of handbag nobody weeps into      except for when I went to the ten-year reunion      then everyone wanted to weep into me      because we have no jobs      and we have no health insurance      so also we can’t have any babies      now I’m going to talk about the future of my peer group      the actual future      when I turn into a human      and have to take vacations to weep into myself


life is very easy      you just have to memorize it      in advance      like this morning      you put on your watch      the wrong way for a moment      that was a brilliant stroke      so small      so human      you just have to know your behavior      and execute it      like love      like reaching down to pick up a bullet      and then no one ever tells you      where it’s from      everything lies down and waits its turn      this house      the van      the mast      your private kidney      it’s March 18      a Tuesday      right away the phone neglects to ring


a woman and a man are on the bench      the bench is vibrating      and the trees and purses      that which does not vibrate falls apart      the dead also vibrate      the woman and the man are still alive I think      I know a lot about the world      when the man says he will fix dinner      he does not mean he will repair it      and winning is one object of the sun      there is no good way to draw smoke      compared to smoke bench is real life      real life keeps hills piled up behind it      a bench is in memory of the dead      sometimes a choice is needed      to pick the door and not the doorway      the woman makes an offer      the man forgets to vibrate      and promptly falls apart


you were holding me when the tulips collapsed      we had not given them the water      I was holding the water in my hands      and you were holding me when I fell to the wavering ground      and for the tulips were are not sorry      oh no      we’re not sorry at all      the water is clean and warm      and sustains us up to our knees      any moment now      we’ll start to blossom      my head will crack open      and fall through your hands      oh hands cannot keep anything together pretty baby      oh it beats me why we try

(Octopus Books, 2011)



Heather Christle

Words, The Trees The Trees

A native of New Hampshire, Heather Christle is the author of The Difficult Farm (2009), The Trees The Trees (2011), which won the Believer Poetry Award, What Is Amazing (2012), and Heliopause (2015). A former creative writing fellow in poetry at Emory University, Christle has taught at Emory, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and Sarah Lawrence. She is the Web editor of jubilat magazine and a frequent writer-in-residence at the Juniper Summer Writing Institute.

Branimira Ivanova

Costume Designer, The Trees The Trees

Branimira ​​Ivanova is a Chicago-based designer working with local, national, and international companies such as ​Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Gus Giordano Jazz Dance, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Breakbone Dance Company, National Portuguese Ballet, and Introdans, NI, among others. She has worked with distinguished choreographers, including Alejandro Cerrudo, Lucas Crandall, Toru Shimazaki, Margueritte Donlon, Lauri Stallings, and Gustavo Ramirez Sansano.  In addition to her work as a costume designer, she also runs a minimalist contemporary sportswear clothing company, HOI Clothing.

Alicia Walter

Vocalist, The Trees The Trees

Alicia Walter is a performer and composer mastering the medium of herself in New York City. She is also known for her work as the art-pop project, Oshwa.

Gallery Photos © Angela Sterling & Lindsay Thomas