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Unread 07-21-2021, 01:48 PM
Sarah-Jane Crowson's Avatar
Sarah-Jane Crowson Sarah-Jane Crowson is offline
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Default Music and poetry combinations?

What are your favourite music and poetry combinations?

I'm currently into Radiohead (OK Computer) and Dylan Thomas, as a kind of simultaneous explosion of beautiful misery.

Or, is this not something you do? Should poetry be listened to in silence, be music in and of itself?

Sarah-Jane
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Unread 07-21-2021, 02:44 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Sarah-Jane,

I do a fair bit, while editing my religion MS., of listening to Randy Newman's "God's Song": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0TvfqmWf4M
It may explain a lot. I also listen to Muddy Waters, "Got My Mojo Working," to Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now," and to Bob Marley's "War" and Mix-Up Mix-Up," kind of on rotation.
Right now as I type we're listening again to Dylan's online concert from Sunday. Good stuff.

Cheers,
John
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Unread 07-21-2021, 02:45 PM
Chris O'Carroll Chris O'Carroll is offline
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Radiohead and Dylan Thomas, eh? Sounds like you're interested in after-the-fact combinations rather than performances in which the poets and musicians actually collaborated with each other.

The Beats often read to jazz accompaniment, and a number of composers set Edith Sitwell's poems to music, but I know of those performances without having heard many of them and without feeling any strong attachment. Richard Wilbur collaborated with Leonard Bernstein on the operetta Candide and with William Schuman on the cantata On Freedom's Ground. I've read what he wrote for the latter project, and it's mighty strong stuff, but I've never heard it performed.

Gil Scott-Heron's "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" is one piece of poetry performed with music that I have always found powerful and engaging. (I might mention some Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen songs as well, but I see no point in launching an argument about whether those songwriters are truly "poets" or whether arts and entertainment journalists called them that just to make themselves appear hip and sensitive.)

I have no musical ability, but now that you've put the thought in my mind, I may find myself musing about what tunes would be good fits with some of my favorite poems.
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Unread 07-21-2021, 02:54 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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I've seen the Bernstein/Wilbur Candide and it sustained attention. For me, the most memorable aria was "We are all victims of love," or what have you, sung by the syphilitic chorus, with great choreography in the staging I got to see.
Gil Scott-Heron is consistently great IMO. John Cooper Clarke shows up in some poetry anthologies, and R.D. Laing did a splendid sonnet cycle to music called "Life before Death," out of print now and hard to find. He plays trumpet on it. It's not online.

Cheers,
John
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Unread 07-21-2021, 03:06 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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... just to add the requisite mention of watching The Wizard of Oz on mute while playing Dark Side of the Moon, which you start when the MGM lion roars. Possibly while tripping.

John
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Unread 07-21-2021, 03:13 PM
W T Clark W T Clark is offline
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Aesop rock is one of the greatest formal poets of our age, whose poems are nominally called hip-hop.
https://genius.com/Aesop-rock-gopher-guts-lyrics
https://genius.com/Aesop-rock-rings-lyrics
https://genius.com/Aesop-rock-none-shall-pass-lyrics
He's also quite Joycean.
You get poetry and music crafted over each other.

Last edited by W T Clark; 07-21-2021 at 03:20 PM.
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Unread 07-21-2021, 03:33 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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On that note, Cameron, I'll link to this amazing collaboration between Biggie Smalls and Bone Thugs N Harmony, called "Notorious Thugs." They do the tight group harmonies, naturally: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6XhzXB3oY8

John
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Unread 07-21-2021, 07:02 PM
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F.F. Teague F.F. Teague is offline
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Hi Sarah-Jane,

This is interesting! I remember a few bits of Radiohead from student years and I know some Dylan Thomas too.

I enjoy writing poetry inspired by music and setting my own lyrics to music. That doesn't really answer your question, apols. I think listening to music and reading poetry at the same time might make me feel cluttered, as it would be difficult to accommodate a total of three voices simultaneously in my brain.

So far, I've written poetry inspired by Mussorgsky, Stravinsky, Schumann, Debussy, Faithless; and my to-write list in this respect is endless, really <(:-)

Do you have a favourite combo of Radiohead song and Dylan poem?

Best wishes,
Fliss

PS: When I wrote my Mussorgsky series, I was writing poetry inspired by music inspired by art. Do you like art with poetry and/or music?
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Unread 07-21-2021, 09:48 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris O'Carroll View Post
Richard Wilbur collaborated with Leonard Bernstein on the operetta Candide and with William Schuman on the cantata On Freedom's Ground. I've read what he wrote for the latter project, and it's mighty strong stuff, but I've never heard it performed.
William Schuman: On Freedom's Ground

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9mZAKgmOMc
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Unread 07-22-2021, 03:18 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Those Aesop tracks are great, Cameron!

Sarah-Jane. As far as listening to music (especially music with lyrics) at the same time as reading poetry… No! Ha. It would be like trying to watch two films at once. I might have something soft and tinkly in the background, maybe.

Weirdly though, I do sometimes like obscenely loud, repetitive, barely controlled rock music when I'm trying to write a poem. Stooges, Dinosaur Jr or Can or The Fall or something. That's different somehow and seems to block out any external thoughts and allow me get me into a kind of focused hypnosis.
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