Last Wednesday marked CW’s last day with artist in residence, Taylor Duckett. For the last two weeks, Taylor taught us the foundations for performance poetry. In the unit, we differentiated a storyteller from a music artist and analyzed what being a storyteller meant; we wrote and performed pieces written to a sixteen beat, and compared a line of poetry to a measure of music. As these lesson changed each day, one aspect would stay the same: the free-writes.
At the beginning of the unit, Taylor asked each student for one song in order to compile a class playlist that we would listen to for each free-write. Every day to start class, end break, and end class, Taylor would play one of our songs for us to respond to. Her challenge for us was to keep our pen moving for the entire song. Which is difficult when I am trying to jam to a song that I have not heard before, or trying to make out lyrics on the first listen.
Taylor’s hope was that we incorporate what we hear into our writing. For each song, maybe we would use the song’s beat in our piece, maybe sample a few lyrics, or respond to how the song made us feel. Typically, when I listen to music, I am reminded of the events surrounding the first time I heard the song, but what happens when I hear the song for the first time? With a pen in hand and paper in front of me, I found that, for me, I am transported back to a time that resembles the mood of the song.
Oftentimes, listening to a certain song on the list brought up a memory that I had not stopped to think of since. For example, the song “Handle With Care” by The Traveling Wilburys reminded me of when my brother and I would go on bike rides to a school near our house during the summer. I found that music can evoke emotion by relating to its audience with parts like the beat or lyrics. The ability for music to bring up instances from the past is something I found fascinating.
While I was able to enjoy the music and relive, mostly happy, memories that the songs brought back to life, it was difficult for me to write a creative response to the song. I felt that I was too focused on listening to the song, or trying to uncover more details of a memory that the song evoked rather than allowing the song to aid my creative writing.
Everything that Taylor taught during her performance poetry unit were things that I had not attempted or observed before. Her lesson also prepared us for our upcoming showcase.
CW Performance Poetry Playlist
- I’m Not in Love – 10cc
- And the Waltz Goes On – Andre Rieu
- Millionaire – Kelis
- In the Kingdom – Mazzy Star
- Wigwam – Bob Dylan
- Cassiopeia – Joanna Newsom
- What You Won’t Do For Love – Bobby Caldwell
- Moody’s Mood for Love – Tito Puente
- Heavenly Father – Isaiah Rashad
- Every Planet We Reach is Dead – Gorillaz
- Will of the Wisp – Miles Davis
- Thinning – Snail Mail
- Feel It All Around – Washed Out
- Pienso En Mira – Rosalia
- Fireworks – Animal Collective
- Transit – Fennesz
- Suzanne – Leonard Cohen
- Handle with Care – The Traveling Wilburys
- Lonely Girl – Oceanlab
- Mythological Beauty – Big Thief
- Pool – Tricot
- He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat) – Jill Scott
- Wham Bam Shang-a-lang – Silver
- Fancy Shoes – The Walters
- Come Together – Beatles
- Powerlines – Riz La Vie
- No Other Plans – Sunny Levine
- Graceland – Paul Simon
- Hear You Me – Jimmy Eat World
Xuan Ly, Class of 2021