Thursday, January 10, 2013

Poetic Taste and Musical Taste

I’ve been thinking about possible correlations of poetic and musical taste. I’m talking mainly pop music here, but I’m sure classical alternatives would be easy to come up with.  

If you are a fan of music produced from, say, an Icelandic collective who record sounds from beaches and fields and run it through a variety of distortion pedals, are you destined to be a fan of avant-garde poetry?

If you are interested in that kind of stuff but spend more time listening to The Velvet Underground, be-bop jazz (and its descendants) or Yo La Tengo – are the chances of you enjoying poems on the mainstream’s left field correspondingly strong i.e. poems that employ experimental techniques but haven’t abandoned traditional forms and melodies?

Let’s say you enjoy what I might call ‘quality commercial pop’ – anything popular produced by talented people capable of writing a half-decent lyric and tune, but not manufactured by producers or TV talent shows. Does that make it more likely you will be into poets who regularly feature in the UK prize shortlists?

How many poetry collections will fans of over-produced power ballads, girl and boy bands, X Factor contestants, and singers who use autotune as a matter of course, read this year? Would it be true to suggest the answer will be close to zero, except perhaps in times of crisis or for special occasions like weddings etc.

I know this is all absurdly reductive. There will be many exceptions, but is the number of exceptions sufficient only to prove the rule?

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