Poetry can be Music, with even more Music

A lot of change in my life right now (mostly good but definitely bittersweet), and I will need to retrain my mind to move outside of daily processes, positions, and pathways that have been absolutlely necessary for nearly six years. Put another way, changing current habits is hard. Remembering some cherished habits of old, while creating new ones, also feels hard, especially when you are also now older.

I have always loved writing, whether I was the reader or the creator, and poetry means a lot to me. Making things means a lot to me. Create. I am always curious to know who in the world is making something. What does it mean to be removed from creation? From the opportunity to make in ways that you value?

I won’t post any of my newer writing here. None of the drafts feel fit for human consumption, but I’ve been playing with music a bit again, setting some traditional poems, or versions of them, to what I would say is “House-style” music. I loved house music, especially in the 90’s. Grunge’s emergence didn’t bother me, but house music was so hopeful, even just the titles of the songs: “Good Life,” “Break for Love,” and “Big Fun.” That’s a fancy way of saying these experiments are weird, setting poems by Sylvia Plath, Gwendolyn Brooks, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, and Robert Frost to electronic music. But it is nice to again momentarily disappear into the making of things.

Below are some of the results. The first uses, as its vocal, and actual audio recording of Sylvia Plath reading her poem “Cut.” All the loops I used to create the music begin with the letter “c” so having the poem fit that same criteria felt right. The second, Langston Hughes’s “Dream Variations,” uses a voice from murph.ai, “Terrell,” and I use that voice a lot because of its resonance and texture. The Hughes track also samples heavily from Louis Armstrong’s “West End Blues,” which is a treasure of a song.

Sylvia Plath’s “Cut” played with a bit
Midjourney’s rendering of the simple prompt “Sylvia Plath”
Langston Hughes’s “Dream Variation,” also played with a bit
Midjourney Rendering of prompt “Dream Variations”

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