Aaron Dworkin's "Rosin"

Aaron Dworkin's "Rosin"

Aaron Dworkin, our Shar Music Poetjournalist-in-Residence, returns with “Rosin,” another lyrical, topical poem.

We return with another poem from Shar Music’s® own Poetjournalist-in-Residence, Aaron Dworkin. Aaron is an acclaimed musician and best-selling author who’s been kind enough to join us here at Shar Music, and to share his poems on the topic of stringed instruments. Today’s poem is “Rosin.”







Violin players wield bows

hewn from Pernamubuco wood

bookending the tension

of hair from horses’ tails.


Silky equine strands

Would draw no sound

If not for the rosin

Delicately yet repeatedly

Applied disrupting

An otherwise serene interaction.


To create beautiful melodies

Friction between metal and biological

Material must be initiated.


Weightlifters, dancers

Climbers, bullriders

All use sap drizzled from pine trees

Distilled into beautiful tools

That empower ability.


It is compelling

How love for my mother

Only grew like morning glories

After adolescent conflict

And admonishment for my behavior.


It is alluring

How love for my wife only deepens

When a diet of disagreements

Comprise an agitation

Within the exquisite complexion

Of a union destined for ecstatic evolution.


Whether kept

By guard or cloth

Dark or amber

This role of rosin

Seeks to let us all remember

How our path to the harmonies

In existence lie in the friction

Through which we relate the differences

That make us all unique.



Aaron joined us here in “the Vault” (our own recording studio), for a free-ranging conversation about art, music, and the process of writing poetry. (We’ll be running the full interview at the end of this month.) Aaron had many thoughts about the Black tradition, writing, and the poem “Rosin” itself—


Shar Music: …We’ve talked a little about African Americans in classical music, and you sort of having to discover them, learn about them on your own once you attended music school. When it comes to poetry, do you have African American poets who influenced you, or in general, who are your influences?


Aaron Dworkin: Certainly Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, not just when it comes to poetry, just in general terms of influences. It’s interesting; as when it comes to music, I am usually spending the majority of my time in my own explorative process.


Shar Music: Do you feel a weight of tradition at all? Do you feel that there is a way to continue on within a tradition, or do you see things in more personal terms?


Aaron Dworkin: I would say maybe more I think of things personally. I wouldn’t necessary say a “weight of tradition,” I would say it’s more wanting to continue on… but not feeling burdened by it.


Shar Music: In your poem “Rosin” you write “How our path to the harmonies/ In existence lie in the friction/ Through which we relate the differences/ That make us all unique.” Do feel that’s a theme in you work? Of harmony coming through contrast. You spoke, at one point during our talk, of being in-between worlds in a way [being adopted into a white family, attending school for music without knowing of any Black classical composers].


Aaron Dworkin: Yeah, so, certainly for “Rosin,” you’re speaking of my goal. My goal there is of course to be able to show how ultimately the way that rosin works is by creating a friction that otherwise wouldn’t exist, and without that friction, we can’t create the beautiful melodies and sounds that we hear – and that people are impacted by. So, but the goal is to basically to show not only that yes, this is – if you will – this explanation of rosin, but hopefully to tie things together for the reader/viewer, where they get the ultimate underlying realization that friction can lead to beauty. Can lead to melody, can lead to art.


And whether that’s direct artistic expression on a stringed instrument, or whether it is that some level of friction can bring beauty to relationships. And hopefully, somebody leaves knowing not only learning o more about rosin on a material level, but also they might leave with a bit of a different sense of the friction they experience in their own lives.




By the way, as this blog is winds down, we’d like mention that Shar Music® has a vast assortment of rosin. Dark and light rosins, in every brand and style: traditional, all-natural, hypoallergenic, in fun shapes (or with flashing lights) for the kiddos, or handmade and encased in wood and velvet for the professional. Check out our full range of rosin right here.







Aaron Dworkin is a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow and was President Obama’s first appointment to the National Council on the Arts; he is a current Professor of Arts Leadership and Fellowship at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance, as well as the founder of the Sphinx Organization, a non-profit dedicated to the development of young Black and Latino classical musicians.


He has recorded and collaborated with a range of artists, including

Yo-Yo Ma, Damien Sneed, Anna Deveare Smith, Damian Woetzel, Lil Buck, and

others. He is a best-selling author and the writer of the poetry collection They Said I Wasn’t Really Black.

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