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> Setting poetry to music
rus bowden
post Oct 10 07, 21:12
Post #1


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From: Lowell MA
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Real Name: Rus Bowden
Writer of: Poetry
Referred By:Lori Kanter/IBPC



"The author's conviction on this day of New Year is that music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the dance; that poetry begins to atrophy when it gets too far from music; but this must not be taken as implying that all good music is dance music or all poetry lyric. Bach and Mozart are never too far from physical movement." [--Ezra Pound]

Last night, Poetry & Poets in Rags linked to the following article that begins by featuring William Butler Yeats's poem "The Stolen Child" set to music by Loreena McKennitt:

WaarMaarRaar: Deep Thought

Today, another article appeared on the web that highlights McKennitt's musical association with poetry:

The Columbus Dispatch: Exotic sounds infuse Celtic melodies

She is quoted as saying:

"I look for particular kinds of poems. First of all, they must resonate within the banner of the rough theme that I might be working on. . . . The second thing is looking at the imagery. I love to find a very strong imagery. . . . One is also looking at the pragmatic things: Are the phrases of the poem singable? Because sometimes you get wonderful poems but they can be misery to sing."

This past June, Poetry & Poets in Rags linked to this article by Sam Sadigursky:

All About Jazz: Jazz and Poetry: The Words Project

The Words Project is about setting poetry to music, specifically jazz. Here is Sadigursky's website: http://www.samsadigursky.com. Click Enter to go further into the site and you will hear his music. Click on "Listen" to select tracks.

In the article he writes:

"Basing a composition on a poem presents a multitude of challenges artistically and musically. A poem, regardless of form or verse, exists on its own, its own entity, possessing a rhyme, rhythm and a music within. I constantly ask myself whether poets actually want this done to their work. It can often feel like clothing a great nude sculpture or framing an unframed work of art and thus must be approached with great delicacy. "

On Sadigursky's title webpage, there is this quote from Brad Walseth:

"Words and music--a union not always equal or necessarily tranquil. Serious words, expressing perceptive thought in an artful way is hardly the norm in jazz or any music, especially since music is generally constrained by beats and measures in a way much modern poetry is not. As such, the combination of the arts of poetry and music is a rarely attempted feat and one that is hardly ever pulled off successfully, with most lyricists reverting to moon and June rhymes and shallow platitudes. Thankfully, Sam Sadigursky’s The Words Project is the exception to this norm in its brilliant combination of poems by poets like Donald Justice, Paul Auster, and Maxine Kumin. . . a satisfyingly emotional and haunting experience"

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rus bowden
post Oct 11 07, 19:21
Post #2


Greek
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Member No.: 333
Real Name: Rus Bowden
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Referred By:Lori Kanter/IBPC



Check out these terrific responses to setting poetry to music:

Zyskandar A. Jaimot at MoonTown Café

Johanna Donovan and Mitchell Geller at Desert Moon Review

misskeenish and White_Rabbit at The Fray

michaela gabriel at Inside the Writer's Studio

Kitty at The Rabbit Hole (the now "recent" posts in the IBPC News thread)

Making (Mignon) at The Waters

Fred Longworth, Will Eastland, and Lazarus at Wild Poetry Forum

Beth Vieira at The Critical Poet

~~~~~

Both Kitty and michaela spoke of Loreena McKennitt doing Alfred Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott" (the poem)

michaela further spoke of these:

Loreena McKennitt doing Alfred Noyes' "The Highwayman" (the poem)

Julia Hülsmann Trio & Rebekka Bakken doing E.E. Cummings' "anyone lived in a pretty how town" (the poem)

michaela reminded me of Björk doing E.E. Cummings' "I Will Wade Out" (the poem)

And, in reference to Sam Sadigursky, he joined poet/singer Andrea Tierra, her husband Edmar Castañeda, and Dave Silliman, in a rendition of Tierra's poem Canto. Go to her website: Andrea Tierra and click on "Poetry".

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rus bowden
post Oct 13 07, 17:49
Post #3


Greek
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Group: Gold Member
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Joined: 7-November 06
From: Lowell MA
Member No.: 333
Real Name: Rus Bowden
Writer of: Poetry
Referred By:Lori Kanter/IBPC



.

Will Eastland calls it "composing a setting for the text" and he shares an mp3 of his work at Wild Poetry Forum

White_Rabbit shares examples at The Fray

More great conversation from these poetry lovers:

maryanncorbett , Making (Mignon), and Judy at The Waters

Dragon, reader2rider, & Beth Vieira at The Critical Poet

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rus bowden
post Oct 16 07, 07:50
Post #4


Greek
***

Group: Gold Member
Posts: 613
Joined: 7-November 06
From: Lowell MA
Member No.: 333
Real Name: Rus Bowden
Writer of: Poetry
Referred By:Lori Kanter/IBPC



.

Some more very considered responses to setting poetry to music, broadening and deepening this discussion in our poetry community, some with examples for us to check out:

michaela gabriel at Inside the Writer's Studio

Making (Mignon) at The Waters

Dragon at The Critical Poet

Guy Parker, Emusing, & Jim Doss at Wild Poetry Forum

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rus bowden
post Oct 17 07, 20:44
Post #5


Greek
***

Group: Gold Member
Posts: 613
Joined: 7-November 06
From: Lowell MA
Member No.: 333
Real Name: Rus Bowden
Writer of: Poetry
Referred By:Lori Kanter/IBPC



This is an extraordinary interboard discussion, and I want to thank all the participants. There has been no response, short or long, that I have not enjoyed and appreciated. This is probably the case for others as well. May I request, that if a blog post or online article is inspired in you from some aspect of this discussion, that you please share it in the thread, and I will link that in as well.

Here is Brad Walseth's article in JazzChicago.net: Sam Sadigursky: "The Words Project". It is the article with the quote referenced in this thread's first post. It turns out that it is a very recent and strong article, and made the News at Eleven section of Poetry & Poets in Rags yesterday.

At the forums . . .

Carol moves from a private forum to last Tuesday's Yeat's thread in Poetry & Poets in Rags and gets speciific about what works and what doesn't for Loreena McKennitt's rendering of "The Stolen Child".

Steve Bunch at another private forum speaks of Edward Sanders work.

posthumous, Dragon, arabianlady (Brenda), & I discuss, at The Critical Poet, among some tangentials and other points, poetry written to be set to music, and what types of poems are selected for music by composers.

Helen Margaret Rees at Wild Poetry Forum speaks of relevance and links to Eddi Reader singing Ae Fond Kiss.

Pris Campbell at MiPO's cafe' cafe' compares Loreena McKennitt's to Phil Ochs' rendition of Alfred Noyes' "The Highwayman"

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