Friday, 5 March 2021

Nathanael O’Reilly : part four

How important is music to your poetry?

Music is tremendously important to my poetry. First of all, as inspiration. I’ve been a big music fan for more than thirty years and have always been drawn to music with great lyrics. Of course, the connection between music and poetry goes back millennia, and in some ways it doesn’t even make sense to think of them as separate art forms. I don’t write poems that are direct responses to particular songs or artists, but I deliberately listen to particular artists and albums in order to get into a creative mindset. Some albums that help get me into the creative mood include Nick Cave’s The Boatman’s Call, Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, The Decemberist’s The King is Dead, Tori Amos’ Little Earthquakes and Florence + The Machine’s Ceremonials. Although I don’t read music and am a terrible singer, I pay a lot of attention to the musicality of my poetry. I use a lot of internal rhyme, consonance, assonance and alliteration, and always pay close attention to the sound effects created by my diction, rhythm, repetition and line-breaks. Unless I’m writing a villanelle or a sonnet, I don’t use a lot of end-rhyme, but I’m always closely attuned to the music in every line. I read my poems aloud while drafting and consider sound and music to be fundamental to poetry. 

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