Saturday, 6 June 2020

Michael Sikkema : part two

How important is music to your poetry?

I think music and sound are pretty much central to my poetry. I often think of music and poetry as synonymous. Lyrics are poetry, and classical music gives us tone poems, and when poetry is performed well, the music lives right inside the words, rather than needing external accompaniment. I read all of my work outloud, score it for performance, think about the difference between how it works on the page vs how it plays on the stage, and will have different versions for different purposes. Listening to jazz, bluegrass, metal, and noise music has shaped my thinking about poetry vs the individual poem that I mentioned last time too. I love the way that musicians can choose destination out, can explore and interrogate certain themes. While I’m not a huge fan of self-indulgent jam bands who forget that they’re interacting with other people, I’m deeply influenced by musicians who will stretch a song so everyone can solo, and will blend voices so they’re truly collaborating, and will improvise, and see how far the edges can be pushed before they break. I wish more people in the poetry community thought more like musicians.

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