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Tag: poetry

Songwriting Process – Reading Poetry For Lyrical Inspiration

“We live in a world of infinite songwriting idea possibilities. All we have to do is go out there and find them.”

I outlined in my last posts “Songwriting Process – Reading Books for Lyrical Inspiration” the concept of reading books as a way of gathering lyrical ideas.

Since then I realised that you can apply this concept to other forms of communication. However, if you’re like me and the thought of reading a whole book is a little bit daunting, try immersing yourself into some poetry instead.

A poem (just like a song) generally has a short space of time in which the reader is given the gist of the story or concept. Most works of poetry are short bursts of observation mixed with pure emotion.

A particular form of poetry that I have been getting into of late is Haiku.

Haiku is a Japanese writing art-form which is very, very constrained in its approach. You have three lines and seventeen syllables (broken into 5, 7 and 5) to get your story or concept across.

An example of some haiku is “Tree, Wind, Cloud and Sky” by a good friend of mine, Garth Dutton.

A lush green of trees
Contrasting with high wind clouds
That whiten, blue sky

Personally, I see haiku as a concise but ready made song synopsis. My challenge to you would be to expand a seventeen syllable haiku poem into a four minute song.

Give it a try and see what you can do.

However, for people who would rather read something less abstract but don’t want to be tied to a book for a long period of time, a collection of short stories are also a great way to gather song lyric ideas as well using the same concepts as my previous post.

Make a date with yourself and go to your local library and pick up a few books of poetry/short stories or, check out some poetry/prose blogs such as the ones I’ve listed below and put yourself up to task.

If you do write some songs using this songwriting technique, let me know about it. I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Using Poetry To Transform Your Lyric Writing

There have been a few instances where lines of poetry have inspired a song or two inside me and with that in mind, I came a cross an article written by songwriter Anna Dagmar called “Transforming Your Lyrics From Poetry To Personal Truth.”

She mentions at the beginning of the article after discovering that her lyrics had changed stylistically from her first album in 2001 to her latest album in 2012:

… when I began writing songs at about age twenty, I had a lot of emotions that wanted to come out somehow, but I was very shy about revealing myself too much. So, I turned to poetry. I turned to the world around me and looked for symbols or metaphors to describe the way I felt.

What grabbed me about the article were two things:

1. The eloquent way she deconstructs some of her lyrics to illustrate some of the points she makes

2. Her “Handful Of Tricks For Expanding Your Lyric Writing Process” list that she mentions halfway through the article

She ends the article with yet another piece of great advice, saying that lyricists should:

… read and write as often as possible. Be true to yourself, and don’t be afraid to share detail, whether about yourself or another person. Try to dig deeply to find ways of describing the world more eloquently than we do in daily conversation.

What I’ve found through my online research into all things songwriting, is that a lot of information is out there about the music, arrangement, collaboration and the business side of songwriting but not necessarily enough about the things lyricists have to go through to make themselves heard.

I hope that you find this information as helpful for you as it was for me. You can find the full article “Transforming Your Lyrics From Poetry To Personal Truth” here.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting