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Using Music to Write Poetry

by Serenity Nightingale

There are many ways you can go about writing a poem. A practice of mine is through the use of music. Be it instrumental, lyrical, or in another language, music is a good source of influence. Songs can set the tone, flow, and emotions of the poem. Although like with all art forms, music as a muse can fall flat. What's most important is that the song catches a thread of inspiration. And through plucking that thread, a poem can form.

A word, a beat, a chorus can become the muse to the poem. However, it's necessary to make sure that whatever part of the song becomes the poem's muse, it shouldn't control the poem. Music is best as a guide when writing poetry. Or else, you can accidentally plagiarize the words. But that only happens when there are lyrics to the song. Instrumental music is preferable during times when words elude you. I don't have this problem currently. When I find myself lacking words, this is a possibility. It's best to believe yourself to be influenced by what is happening around you. That way, you can prevent or limit the influence. 

The goal of using music is to find a sense of zen. Structuring lines of poetry that flow from the mind. At this stage, perfection isn't achieved, but an idea is realized. It is through this awareness, that music should usher you through the poem. A leading dance partner as the song goes through many repetitions needed to complete the poem. The song will inevitably be on repeat, as the words take time to form correctly. Perfection comes in the later drafts of poetry. And the absence of the muse can even be another source of inspiration. The memory can bring forth ideas and words that eluded you while listening to the music. The memories will allow a different perspective that wasn't there previously.

All in all, music is a welcoming partner when writing poetry. Poetry and music have courted each other for centuries. But not all songs are great for inspiration. Listening to different genres can pull out words and phrases that you wouldn't pen. The beauty of expression is that writing for oneself without an audience is freeing. Allow yourself to enjoy poetry for beauty's sake. And let the music run through you, and guide the pen.

Book: Shattered Sighs