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Poem vs Song

Maybe you’ve wondered, how is a poem different from a song, and vice versa? Is a song just a poem set to music? What makes for a satisfying song, or a moving poem? For a writer, what are the opportunities and challenges of each? If a poet wants to write her first song, what does she need to be aware of? If a songwriter feels the need to write a poem this time, how does he approach the task differently? How do cultural history, audience, expectations, or context awaken and influence the creative act?

Jeep has been working with words and music from very early on; he published his first student newspaper story when he was nine years old, and took up the guitar at 11. His writing career has included poetry, song, short fiction, literary translation, copywriting, feature writing, music criticism, and organizational communications. But above all, he has found it a lifelong fascination and mystery how one given impulse to write in poetic lines finds its way to the blank page, and is happy to be there, while another pulse of creative energy wants its words to marry up with melody.

He has published as a poet in American Poetry Review, Sun & Moon, and numerous small literary magazines. His MFA in poetry was earned in 1979 at Brooklyn College, where he studied with John Ashbery and Allen Ginsberg, and was honor graduate of his class.

In 2010 he created a 90-minute workshop titled “Poem vs. Song” to deliver at the 30-A Songwriters’ Festival (the so-called “Sundance of Songwriting”) in Seaside, Florida (www.30asongwritersfestival.com). The workshop was well attended, and well received, and he was invited to come back to the festival both as a performer and a workshop presenter…so far, three of the last five annual gatherings.

The workshop combines writing exercises, lecture, demonstrations of songs and poems, and as much Q&A as 90 minutes will accommodate. A particular workshop usually focuses on one or another of the key elements common to poetry and song—such as line, use of rhyme, structure, or prosody—and shows how such elements manifest differently in the two forms. It’s fun, and has attracted a diverse group of attendees.

The workshop can fit easily into a festival program, or as an event co-scheduled with a club appearance or house concert.

Please get in touch to discuss how this workshop can enrich your programming, and expand your audience.