On Poetry & Music

Music and poetry have always worked together very well. In fact, the Welsh word “cerdd” tells us this, given that it can be translated into either “music” or “verse”. Therefore, if you have a karaoke system in your bar or venue and you are not sure how to take it to the next level, you should think about organizing an Open Mic Night that celebrates both music and poetry.

You can be sure that the talented community around you is surely going to appreciate it, and it can also give the opportunity for many young artists to make their work known. Going back to the word “cerdd” for a bit, it is also interesting to note that great bards, back in the day, were making their art through poetry accompanied by music.

The two have been going hand-in-hand when it comes to live performances that have been a part of our history, culture, and society for centuries. Those who are not sure how to work on their poetry and work music into performance as well should definitely go to local festivals that combine both elements, especially since many have a literature component as well.

Back in the day, such cultural competitions were not only meant for the educated part of society, so pubs and other similar places were many times the chosen venues for them.

In Welsh culture, such festivals were called “eisteddfod” and they were part of the society’s oral tradition, but many other cultures have diverse traditions for the spoken word with music next to it. If you go as far as Pakistan or India you will find a rich culture that has a history of oral storytelling as well.


What about today’s society?

We’ve been talking about history a lot, but even today you can find a wide range of local events that celebrate poetry, and many of them highlight the idea that music and poetry have never been separated.

There are various ways in which different genres have been brought together, such as it’s the case with Patti Smith’s work and the bridges she created between punk music and poetry. While such examples are not found every day, history has shown us that they have been a constant presence throughout time.

You can also go to kids’ poetry for many other examples of poetry and music, given that they often learn a lot better and faster about a certain topic if the words are translated into a musical form. For children, this is an easy way to make sense of the world and create the necessary connections while also using their imagination.

The rhythm sticks with them and they don’t feel the need to question the method either. Another interesting perspective is looking at what makes poems easier to translate into music. Many classical composers have done this, and the same goes for soul or folk music ones.

However, it’s also true that poems might work very well as lyrics, but reading lyrics as poetry is another thing. Most of the time, this is harder, given that the structure of a song and its associated lyrics can be quite specific. Also, songs also rely on various repetitions, so this may be harder to recite as well.

With all of this being said, it’s clear that the power of words has held a certain fascination in our culture for a very long time, so if you want to make the connection between the two and create a unique artistic expression, then you should know that there are no limitations to doing this.

Jayron Baldwin

Jayron Baldwin is a creative writer, poet, and sports fan. He is currently compiling material to publish his very own poetry blog.