Looking for a Poetry Book Recommendation

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Razor7Music
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Looking for a Poetry Book Recommendation

Post by Razor7Music » Thu Nov 13, 2014 2:08 pm

Hello--

Does anyone have a good poetry book they can recommend? I'm looking for an author, or authors, that use a lot of imagery to spark the emotions of the reader. It doesn't have to be the classics, but if you found a poet that inspires your lyrics, that's what I'm shooting for. (Nothing dark please).

I used to write consistently and had that frame of mind that I could tap into when I needed. Recently, I seem to have lost touch with the truly inspirational writing that writers are capable of. I'm hoping by reading some excellent poetry I can get that spark. That's what some successful songwriters do--so hey, if it works for them...

Thank you!

Stephen
Thanks,

Stephen Davis, Songwriter
Music: here
For Daily Progress Reports on Twitter: @razor7music
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“If everyone likes you, you're doing something wrong” --Jenna McMahon

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Re: Looking for a Poetry Book Recommendation

Post by ruthgree » Sat Nov 15, 2014 1:25 pm

Great idea -- I've gotten cuts on songs sparked by poetry ideas. Poet Mark Doty has a great little book on description that really nails ideas on imagery. Try poetry.org or on Facebook as well as other poetry groups for more inspiration. I just attended the extraordinary Dodge Poetry Festival, a biennial event with all sorts of poets, including spoken word artists, and workshops/panels, etc. http://www.dodgepoetry.org/at-the-festi ... -festival/ Hugely inspiring! They have a YouTube channel. I find that if I listen for HOW poets use an image, I can abstract that idea and use it WITHOUT copying it to find images that work in songs.

Kim Addonizio's book on writing poetry is wildly helpful too! And Stephen Fry's book The Ode Not Taken has exercises for writing in all sorts of poetic forms -- freely try these out then see if the new form gets you to write interesting images/hooks. (He used to be the comedy partner of Hugh Laurie, who played House! )

Some of my favorite contemporary (e.g., from last 30 years...and today) poets are
Billy Collins
Eavan Boland
Roberty Pinsky
Rachel McKibbens
David Tucker
Richard Blanco
Mark Strand

Every time I go to a poetry reading now I am always thinking of the differences between song lyric and poem. Poems tend to capture a moment, with part of the magic coming from the things that aren't stated exactly in the poem but that the poem makes you feel and think...it can be just a fragment of a reality, but one that cuts to the core. Very different in some ways than, say, your mainstream country lyrics, where you have to set up a scene and limit the symbolism, etc. Great lyrics in any genre do have those moments, those phrases that punch you in the gut, but they either are short enough to sneak by most listeners or they're placed in the absolutely perfect place and then followed by more typical stuff.

I really recommend watching the poets' videos (there are A LOT on that channel) and listening to recordings because the best poets brilliantly use the SOUND of language, the rhythm of consonants and the different "wind instruments" that the vowels are to create words that convey meaning by their sound as well as by their meaning. Rhyme is the LEAST important part of lyrics, as I see it. The SOUND of words means so much more!

Read poetry in other languages too -- that way you get the PURE sound without the distraction of meaning.

I'd love to know where your exploration takes you!

Ruth
Last edited by ruthgree on Sat Nov 15, 2014 1:38 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Looking for a Poetry Book Recommendation

Post by Razor7Music » Sat Nov 15, 2014 1:29 pm

ruthgree wrote:Great idea -- I've gotten cuts on songs sparked by poetry ideas. Poet Mark Doty has a great little book on description that really nails ideas on imagery. Try poetry.org or on Facebook as well as other poetry groups for more inspiration. I just attended the extraordinary Dodge Poetry Festival, a biennial event with all sorts of poets, including spoken word artists, and workshops/panels, etc. http://www.dodgepoetry.org/at-the-festi ... -festival/ Hugely inspiring! They have a YouTube channel. I find that if I listen for HOW poets use an image, I can abstract that idea and use it WITHOUT copying it to find images that work in songs.

Kim Addonizio's book on writing poetry is wildly helpful too!

Some of my favorite contemporary (e.g., from last 30 years...and today) poets are
Billy Collins
Eavan Boland
Roberty Pinsky
Rachel McKibbens
David Tucker
Richard Blanco
Mark Strand

I really recommend watching the videos and listening to recordings because the best poets use the SOUND of language, the rhythm of consonants and the different "wind instruments" that the vowels are to create words that convey meaning by their sound as well as by their meaning. Rhyme is the LEAST important part of lyrics, as I see it. The SOUND of words means so much more!

Ruth
Outstanding information. I will check it all out.

Thank you for taking all this time to give me this!
Thanks,

Stephen Davis, Songwriter
Music: here
For Daily Progress Reports on Twitter: @razor7music
Facebook: @r7mStephenDavis

“If everyone likes you, you're doing something wrong” --Jenna McMahon

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Re: Looking for a Poetry Book Recommendation

Post by ruthgree » Sat Nov 15, 2014 1:52 pm

I added a little more info to my post above--please re-read. Glad you found it helpful. I started out writing poetry as a kid, then got into songwriting and stopped reading poetry, conscious of the difference between them. Only in the last few years have I been truly excited by poetry again. In the freedom of writing it I sometimes come up with song ideas....it functions like freewriting. It's good for when you're inspired to write a song but feel like the idea doesn't fall into a structure, is more of a moment than a verse-chorus kind of thing.

By the way, as I listened to the Festival poets (for 3 days!), I'd take a LOT of notes, phrases I liked, the ideas the poems sparked, and sometimes they'd look like this

"How many [ actions related to X] does it take to make me a [human/man/woman/?]"

Sort of a skeleton to fill in with my own ideas.

I try to always have a blank notebook to capture my thoughts as I listen to poets and singers. I've heard this referred to as the "sideband" response...as you're listening to something, your less conscious mind is nattering away with ideas and if you can get them down, sometimes they are really wonderful because they're not censored (since you're not focusing on them). Of course, if you do this someplace like Nashville's Bluebird Cafe, someone might think you're stealing lyric lines and want to pummel you. However, you can either show them what you're writing or tell them it's for your blog or for a review or (and NO ONE cares if you do this) for a POEM. I doubt that poets would get mad if you copied down a brilliant phrase or two but songwriters can get prickly since we can use so few words per song.

Any part of any poem -- even a haiku -- can give you ideas for titles.

If you do use these ideas, tell us what you found and how you used it....how you got from poem to song.

PS I went to the Poetry Festival on a day when high school groups came and am happy to say that a lot of kids are really huge fans of poetry...not only writing their own but listening respectfully and dialoguing with the adult poets. A beautiful thing.

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Re: Looking for a Poetry Book Recommendation

Post by Razor7Music » Sat Nov 15, 2014 8:12 pm

Ruth, you're awesome. Thank you for this huge kick start to the path I'm on.

I've been writing songs for almost 40 years and this is the first time I've researched a topic and looked for tools to help me create an emotion in the listener. I really want the song I'm working on to be truly remarkable and I'm going to take my time and see what I'm capable of if I put my mind, and heart to it.

I've read several songwriting books this year and one thing I know I need work on is using imagery to help the user experience the story from their own emotions as opposed to me telling them how I feel in the lyric.

I'm looking into your suggestions right now. This will be a process for me. I already have a theme, a good melody, and basic chord structure for the instruments. Lyric and story ideas keep coming to me like crazy--sometimes ten or so in one day, and this is just as I'm going through my normal daily routine!

Kind of exciting.

Thanks again!
Thanks,

Stephen Davis, Songwriter
Music: here
For Daily Progress Reports on Twitter: @razor7music
Facebook: @r7mStephenDavis

“If everyone likes you, you're doing something wrong” --Jenna McMahon

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