Poetry and Music/Annapolis Poet Laureate – Poetry News Roundup June 19th

Today’s poetry news roundup looks at the link between poetry and music and the artists who use poetry as the inspiration to create some truly spectacular songs. We also have an article about the first poet laureate to be appointed in Annapolis.

From Poetry to Music, Something Special

It could be argued that in many ways poetry is like the lyrics of a song just waiting to be set to music, and for Augie March, a band, that is exactly where the inspiration for many of their songs comes from. The band’s songwriter and vocalist, Glenn Richards, would rather reach for a poetry book in the mornings than check his social media.

This love of books and in particular poetry began at school and led to him studying literature at Melbourne’s University. His first port of call when looking for inspiration for one of his next songs is usually poets such as Gwen Harwood, Judith Wright, or Michael Dransfield – all Australian poets. However, when they fail to get his creative juices flowing it’s the English poets he turns to, from Coleridge to Keats, W.H. Auden to Dylan Thomas he knows he will find his muse in the poetry books.

Even the band’s name has links to poetry: “The Adventures of Augie March” by Saul Below.

Recently Richards accepted an invitation to use the poems of Kenneth Slessor and Michael Dransfield as a basic for two new songs for the bands new album “Borrowed Verse”. The result is a rather eclectic brew that matches the versions of the poems to music in a perfect way and is well worth a listen.

Richards isn’t the first songwriter to use poetry to create songs there have been a number of other artists who have done so over the years. It might surprise you to know that “Don’t Stand so Close to Me” by The Police was in face based on the novel Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, or that artists like Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Brian Ferry have set music to the words of Shakespeare.

“Borrowed Verse” is out now and the live launch is scheduled to take place on 22ndJune.

Annapolis Names First Poet Laureate

The capital city of Maryland has named Temple Cone, a Nava Academy English professor as their first poet laureate. Cone will serve a two-year, term in the role.

He is not due to take up the role officially until 1stJuly but plans to begin poetry contest, hold workshops geared towards military personnel and put together talks about writing as part of his duties. Mayor Gavin Buckley feels that Cone has some fantastic ideas which are truly inspiring and that will hopefully build common ground as well as fostering a good deal of creative expression within the local community through poetry

Cone is a published poet with four poetry books to his name. He holds an M.F.A in Creative Writing from his time at the University of Virginia and also has a number of other academic degrees.

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