This is Duke University. My poetry and my writing draw so much on music.
My earliest interest in poetry was as a kind of musical speech, a kind of musical writing.
Music is such a central part of all the ritual practices around the globe and throughout
time. I listen to a lot of international music,
music from around the world– Portuguese fado, flamenco, ritual music from Cameroon, that
kind of thing– in languages that I don’t understand, but I’m getting something out
of it. The lessons in tone, rhythm, cadence that you can learn from that listening are
important as a poet. Sometimes I will feel a line or phrase as
a rhythm or a pulse before I have the words for it. Later, you know, I find the words.
Sometimes you start with that kind of listening. In my work I’ve been trying to bring poetry
back into a closer alliance with music. I hope that it does what I’ve experienced in
listening to poets whose musicality has really lifted me and really taken me into some other
space and time, some other way of experiencing space and time, perhaps. That’s what I’d like
it to do, you know. Produced by Duke University, online at duke.edu.