I am a bit of a poetry snob. I think most songs are bad poems. Put another way, I think they are two separate are forms with the potential for crossover. (Of course, there are exceptions and exceptional songwriter/poets: Dylan, Mitchell, Jay-Z.) And while I have written poems inspired by music, I’ve never put a poem to music or worked with a musician to merge the two. But when poets crossover and push the boundaries of poetry and music, it really is a pleasure for the senses to behold.
In our class, a few questions came up that I thought were good ones to post here on the blog.
- How do we define that fine line between songwriting and poetry? What elevates a song to the level of poetry? And the reverse—what makes a poem good enough to be a song?
- Which has a better outcome, a poem set to music or a poem written specifically for a piece of music?