Here’s what we do here, usually a couple times a week: we combine original music written for the occasion with some words, which are usually poetry someone else has written.
Of course, poetry. The compression of poetry lets us fit the words into shorter pieces and leave room for some notes. And, of course music, because every poem has a music within it, even when hidden, that wants to come out.
There are lots of ways to do this, and we do many of them. The reader will speak the words, sing the words, chant the words. The music can be simple spontaneous band recordings or more elaborate compositions recorded a track at a time until the larger sound-field is filled in.
There’s something about that push and pull of combining words that want to sing with music that wants to say something. Even when I’m doing it casually and off the cuff as a musician or a reader, I can feel the two parts wanting to connect, asking to connect, demanding that the other half listen!
If you look at the over 190 audio pieces we’ve already published here you’ll see that we don’t usually feature our own words, though Dave and I have written poetry for decades. Even when we do use something we’ve written, it’s usually about someone else.
There is nothing intrinsically wrong with poetry about your own experience, but I’ve often felt that something extra is felt when the poetry tries to cross that gap from one person’s head to another person’s lips—that kiss you feel with the momentary connection that begs you to find its meaning. And music too, created silently inside the shadowed choir-loft of a musician’s head, becomes itself only when touching a little membrane of sensitive skin inside another’s ear before it can become part of the dancing bones.
The Internet’s shown up with poetry again, and there’s them musicians with’em this time!
Using other people’s stories, other people’s words—this lets us experience the poems with you. Encountering poetry with music lets us meet them with only the expectation that something will happen.
I’m planning to present more audio pieces here during April’s National Poetry Month (#npm2018) than ever before, so check back often. And don’t forget there are lots of poems with differing music, from the most familiar to the unknown, already here in our archives to check out.