Poetry CD/Pop Legend’s Poet Assistant – Poetry News Roundup February 25th

Today we look at a CD of songs created around poetry and the poet helping a pop legend with his memoirs.

New Life Given to William Soutar

Regarded as one of the greatest Scottish poets, some of the works of William Soutar are to be given a new lease of life as they will be made into a CD containing poignant songs.

The idea behind the CD is that it will celebrate the life of the poet and also bring his 20th-century works into the modern-day whilst offering them some strength and meaning. Soutar was a leading Scottish renaissance literary figure. He was born in Perth and died at the age of just 45 in 1943, he had been ill for a number of years and his eventual cause of death was tuberculosis.

Alexander Scott, his biographer said of him
The CD will be accompanied by a songbook and is the result of the “In A Sma’ Room” project which started life back in 2012 and has been helped along the way by a commission from the Friends of William Soutar.

Initially, the idea was to create a theatre and music performance that would combine songs and a script. This was presented as part of the Made in Scotland Showcase at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2014.

The music on the CD was influenced by the classical, jazz and folk backgrounds of the composers involved in the project.

This is not the first time that there has been interest in Soutar’s work, both in Scots and English. In 1969, the composer BenJamin Britten set 12 of the poet”s verses for tenor voice and piano. In 2014 Soutar was the subject of The Still Lie a BBC radio programme by Liz Lochhead.

Renowned Poet Assists with Memoir

Sir Paul McCartney has enlisted the help of the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon to help edit his memoirs.

The 900-page book is a very long-awaited publication by McCartney who always said that his writing was only for his lyrics and felt that his story had already been told, so there was no need for a memoir. Now the 78-year-old has had a change of direction and has finally written his eagerly awaited memoir, with a little help from Muldoon who is not only an award-winning poet but also something of a fan.

The book is called “The Lyrics” and contains the words to 154 songs that span the singer’s entire career from boyhood to his time in The Beatles right up to the present day. Each song is accompanied by biographical detail which talks about the circumstances surrounding its writing.

Whilst it might seem that Muldoon, who is a former Oxford University professor of poetry is a world away from the more usual ghostwriter, the pair have been able to work very well together.

The poet who hails from Northern Ireland, and who was a good friend of the late Seamus Heaney, is passionate about sixties pop music and in his own words would
He was delighted to be asked to work on the memoir of a man he considers to be a fellow “literary figure”.

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