Friday 18 August 2006

Wanted - One Poet

As I am currently chugging to the end of the first draft of my current project (the choral setting of Isaiah chapte 6), I've made one of my periodic resolutions to write more songs. This, of course, requires poetry to set - always a bit of a problem. So this lunch-time I spend a happy half-hour in Waterstones, leafing through the poetry books. I found some Paul Celan, in translation, which was very tempting but Celan has been set by a number of well-known contemporary composers, so I don't think I will try and compete. But I did find a book of Japanese Ko-Uta, short and rather haunting - just the thing for my songs. AND, Rabrindranath Tagore's Gitanjali in a new poetic translation, rather than his own poetic prose. These look very tempting.

The problem with contemporary poetry is that before songs can be used or printed, you need to address the copyright issues. But I find that it is a certain type of contemporary voice to which I am attracted, I have great difficulties find much pre-1900 poetry which I feel I want to set. I'm not sure why. So I've decided to set the poems I fancy and worry about copyright later, if I can't get permission then they can sit in the draw with all the other unperformed songs!

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