Helen Sung’s latest project, Sung With Words, is a Collaboration by a Pianist and a Poet. “Sung With Words,” a song cycle by the pianist Helen Sung and the poet Dana Gioia, starts from the premise that jazz and poetry are natural allies. Ms. Sung has an aesthetic of orderly insight, and she favors an articulate brand of post-bop. She first met Mr. Gioia, the new poet laureate of California and a former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, eight years ago at a White House state dinner. They had kept up a friendly correspondence before Ms. Sung approached Mr. Gioia with the idea for a collaboration. Mr. Gioia, a lifelong jazz fan, is a lucid, accessible poet, who, for the purposes of this project, used rhyming couplets. Besides “Pity the Beautiful,” he wrote some poems expressly for Ms. Sung’s use. One, “Hot Summer Night,” – “Let’s go downtown. It’s a hot summer night./Let’s not stay home and get in a fight” – featured Carmen Lundy on vocals. She gave it a live spark, starting out with just Samuel Torres on bongos and taking liberties with the form.