If Natalie Merchant were only my look-alike and had nothing more than her honeyed voice to recommend her, I'd like her. But I wouldn't call her a kindred spirit.
But the fact that she has, on her latest recording project, Leave Your Sleep, set Gerard Manley Hopkins' beloved autumn poem "Spring and Fall to a Young Child" to music makes me quiver with joy, despite the poemsong's melancholy strains.
In the following interview, Ms. Merchant discusses the Leave Your Sleep project and the artistic influences that inspired it, including Hopkins' life and poetry.