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Contemporary Poetry/texts


TJS
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Are there any contemporary/recent poets whose work you [would] like to set to music?  Or newer branches of poetry that you like?  I don't know much about what's out there in this regard but am curious of any discoveries people have made that may be particularly useful for musical purposes. 

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It's really self-defeating to put any real effort into a piece without getting the text permission - just don't do it.  Performers/groups are way more aware of this now, and you'll notice most competitions and opportunities for vocal/choral music require you to submit your written text permission along with the piece you're submitting.

 

For one contemporary poet I love, I've always wondered why I didn't notice people setting her work. Then I tried to get permission from her estate and I suddenly understood why not. :/  But in most cases it's easy; you just have to accept that you'll be asked for something in return in most cases (agreeing to give the publisher some % of any money the piece makes, or a small upfront fee for setting it). 

 

Best is if you can find a poem you think is a great fit for you that is not published yet.  In that case I just email the writer and they invariably think it's awesome that I want to set their work. (I find these just by googling, reading poetry blogs, etc.)

 

A text by a living or 20th C. writer is a great way to set apart your piece and to be able to make something new and interesting!

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I would love to set some things by Robert Frost. Too bad he's not in public domain. 

 

Yeah. Great poems! The way I look at it, set them anyway (for love of the writer and his words), try to get permission, and then, if it's a no-go, put them in a folder somewhere and don't sell them! There's nothing against enjoying what you care about or working on something that might not be published. (I mean, unless you're writing for a living and need to be producing salable pieces.)

http://ericwhitacre.com/music-catalog/satb-choral/sleep

Or, for another creative option: Eric Whitacre set a Frost piece, didn't get permission, and just found new words for the already written music. The mistake was a bit of an oversight, as told by him, but, not a catastrophe financially. =P

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