Sunday, 8 February 2015

Poetry and Music

From the beginning of poetic expression on, poetry has always bee closely linked to music. Please select two or more Canadian poems in which music and/or sound are foregrounded and/or become an important topic.

Alternatively, play with this topic yourself and post your creative piece.

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  1. When I think of the intersection of Canadian music and poetry, my mind is immediately drawn to Canadian musical theatre and opera. Although not necessarily poem first and music second, in both musical theatre and opera, lyrics and music come together to tell stories with deeper emotional tone than simply with words. In musical theatre, when words alone fail to properly express the feelings of the character, they sing, and if singing still falls short of full expression, the character will dance as well.
    Here are some examples of Canadian opera and Musical Theatre.
    Margaret Atwood premiered the new opera, Pauline, (based on the life of Canadian poet Pauline Johnson) here in Vancouver last year for which she wrote the libretto.
    Here is a cbc article and interview with Margaret Atwood :
    And here is an excerpt from the opera:
    The Drowsy Chaperone, a parody of 1920s musical theatre, is a 5 time Tony Award winning Canadian musical. First written as a joke between friends, it was later developed into a full musical for the Toronto Fringe Festival and commercially debuted in Toronto in 1998. After some reshaping, it opened on Broadway in 2006.
    Here is the cast performing "Show Off" on the 2006 Tony Awards (with the amazing Sutton Foster):
    Another great Canadian musical is, Billy Bishop Goes to War, which tells the story of Canada's First World War flying ace.
    Here is the musical presented by the CBC:

  2. This is a bit off topic and not Canadian, unfortunately, but I remember this particular song from my childhood. Back in 1998, when I was 7, my mom bought the CD for this one song and played it constantly. I remember thinking it was the dumbest song, because all the guy did was talk... not really a song at all. My mom used to say how accurate and truthful this song was to life, and all I could think was how much longer it was going to play (it’s a long song). I recently had a flashback to listening to this little piece of nostalgia and realized how moving this song really is. My mom was right! I absolutely love what Baz Luhrmann has to say (or actually Mary Schmich, who originally wrote this piece as a commencement speech). So if you would like, take seven minutes out of your day and listen to some very wonderful advice. (sorry for the Spanish subtitles!)

  3. This is the first time I tried to write a form of poetry with a central theme (music) in mind:
    "The heart is music.
    It plays the tunes, of which you feel,
    It pumps the blood to help you heal,
    The heart is melody in your bones,
    The sweet sincere falsetto tones"

    The poem relates the heart to music as it can be said, “music are what feelings sound like.” Just as the heart pumps blood throughout, it also brings rhythm and dance to the body, which are feelings of joy and happiness. Sweet sincere falsetto tones describe the highs (much like the high notes falsettos are) we feel when the heart finds attachment and joy, while correlating with the rhythm and movement/motion of the body.

  4. I have produced and released an album by Curtis LeBlanc. Curtis is a writer (actually currently an MFA in Creative Writing student) and songwriter originally from St. Albert, AB. I also played trombone on many songs on the album, in addition to producing, recording, and mixing.
    Another Canadian artist I've recorded and produced is Daniel Bellefeuille, originally of Medicine Hat, AB, and now finishing his degree in music composition at UBC. We did an album of piano and piano/voice works together.
    Both albums, as well as a third from a Seattle band I've produced and released can all be found here:

  5. On another note outside of promoting my own work.... I wrote my research essay on the EDM group A Tribe Called Red, who mix electronic dance music with recordings of Pow Wow drum groups. It's fantastic stuff and I highly suggest checking them out: