Friday, September 8, 2017

Writers Find Inspiration in Music


Buffalo Philharmonic Poster
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Students - I was thrilled this past July when Robin Parkinson, Director of Education and Community Engagement of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra asked if I would be interested in writing for the BPO.  I said, "Yes, please!" 

Robin explained the project, answered my many questions, and I wrote a series of poems for the 2017-2018 Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's MUSIC FOR YOUTH Concert Series.  The poems go along with Benjamin Britten's beautiful THE YOUNG PERSON'S GUIDE TO THE ORCHESTRA, and they will be read aloud during each concert, between the different musical variations.

It was new for me to write poems to go along with short pieces of gorgeous music.  I listened and listened to the variations over and over again.  I consulted the list of musical terms provided by Robin and asked the members of the BPO as well as musician friends on Facebook and Twitter to share words they would use to describe the sounds of various orchestral instruments.

I read and consulted the following books:

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I wrote and listened, wrote and listened.  Wrote and listened and revised, revised, revised.  And I learned so very much. This project was a gift to me, a person who never played an orchestral instrument...and a person who always wanted to learn more about the orchestra.  I did!  

Here is an article about the project and the concert from the Fall 2017 BPO Education Newsletter:

Excerpt from the BPO Fall Education Newsletter
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One never knows what any day will bring.  This was a surprise project, and I adored it. Thank you, Robin.  Thank you, BPO.  Thank you, music teachers who recommended me.  I hope you enjoy the poems...all HERE. I certainly love Britten's music.

Music provides endless inspiration.  If you ever find yourself unsure of what to write, try listening to music.  Close your eyes, and let your mind see images connected to what you hear.  Music can help you see new pictures in your head, can help you find new thoughts to write.

In other news, I am grateful to announce that there were two winners of my author visit auction item through KidLit Cares to benefit Harvey Relief.  Thank you to Kate Messner for holding this important auction.  Thank you to Tom Marshall and Helen Khanji of Stony Lane Elementary in Paramus, NJ and to Kristie Miner of Tioughnioga Riverside Academy in Whitney Point, NY for bidding. Together we raised $1125 for the Global Giving for Harvey Relief Fund.  And the whole auction has raised over $93,000.

Boyds Mills Press (donating books) and I (signing and shipping books) are holding a giveaway for my forthcoming READ! READ! READ!, joyfully illustrated by Ryan O'Rourke.


This giveaway runs through September 19, and there will be five winners of one signed book each.  You may enter HERE.

Matt Forrest Esenwine is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme. Please stop by to check out all of the poetry links for this week and to celebrate his new picture book FLASHLIGHT NIGHT, illustrated by Fred Koehler. And please know....Poetry Friday is for everyone.  We welcome you every single week!

Please share a comment below if you wish.

12 comments:

Mitchell Linda said...

Every time I visit The Poem Farm, I think....I like this poem best. And it's true of this one. This is such a beautiful poem. I'm sharing with my music teachers today. Thank you!

Diane Mayr said...

What an amazing project, Amy! I remember listening to 40s music throughout my WW II project. It had a big effect and went a long way to helping me understand the times, so I second your recommendation to listen to music.

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

What a great project to be part of - congratulations, Amy! And best wishes on your upcoming book(s)...both of them!

Irene Latham said...

I love this poem! And this project! Especially after having just participated in my first chamber orchestra -- an Adult Strings weekend for we older amateur cellists, violinists, violists and bassists! It was very much a "studying, growing, giving, taking" kind of experience. Thank you for sharing, Amy. And yay for READ! READ! READ! Coming so soon. xo

Karen Caine said...

I agree with the post above that says that every time she visits she thinks she likes this poem best... I want to print and frame these words.

Kay said...

What a cool project to take part in! I love that the series draws kids in to both music and poetry. The next time I attend one of my daughter's orchestra concerts (she plays cello), I will bring my poetry pen to write.

Linda B said...

I love your poem's connecting music-making to life, Amy. And I love that poster! What a special project you were asked to do, and I'm sure they adored your poems and the collaboration. I used to attend the Denver philharmonic with my students and am sure we would have loved some poetry there too. Isn't it wonderful about Kate's project. I tried, but didn't win, but congrats for your donation, too!

michelle kogan said...

I like the voice you have given to the orchestra and the individual instruments. Also the journey that you unweave about an orchestra and the analogy to one's own life–inspiring poem! Congrats on the "This Orchestra" poem, the article, and your book.

Jane @ www.raincitylibrarian.ca said...

I've never played an instrument either, but music has always had a special place in my heart, and evokes the same powerful feelings in my heart as poetry! The two are so beautifully linked - both provide a myriad of means of expressing our innermost thoughts, hopes, fears and dreams.

Molly Hogan said...

What a wonderful, rich collaboration! I always enjoy reading about your journey to a poem and this trip was especially fascinating to me. How exciting to have your poetry reach a broader and perhaps new audience! Congratulations on this and on the upcoming publication of two more books.

Violet Nesdoly said...

What a fabulous poem, Amy! I especially like the stanza about the instruments' families. What a neat and understandable way to explain about types of instruments. Your poems are a wonderful educational tool! Congratulations!!

Brenda Harsham said...

What a wonderful poem, Amy. Congrats on your collaboration. It sounds like a growth event, the kind where you are changed by what you've learned.