How important is music to your poetry?
It is essential. I use a variety of music to enter my poet mind and to bring forth the memories or feelings that I want to bring into a poem. Like poetry, music enters our body and takes us on a journey which at times feels like time travel. Hearing certain songs suddenly I am twenty-three at The Zoo listening to Streetheart or Barrelhouse or at Bogart’s Nightclub disco dancing to Lionel Richie. Sometimes the lyrics provide powerful writing prompts. Other times it is the music that transports me to the place where memory and creativity merge.
I have been listening to healing ragas and chanting music for thirty years now. I experience the sound of the tap, tap, tap of finger tips and palms on the various drums as an invitation to be fearless when dealing with difficult themes like loss. At times the healing nature of the slow, steady call and response rhythm of the chants can be felt in my writing. Other times I find that the Metis fiddle and the movement of my feet brings words that are dancing the jig. When writing of my twenties I might listen to Steely Dan. Elvis Presley is pre-teen, and such dreamy stuff for me. Occasionally, I need something big and theatrical like The Phantom of the Opera or Meatloaf to elicit passion and longing. Whatever I am listening to informs the writing I do. Knowing this I become my own DJ developing playlists that will bring forth the right feeling tone to whatever I am working on.