Poetry & Song: “Elegy” and Adele’s “Hometown Glory”

Do you listen to music while you write? Has a specific song or music artist ever influenced one of your stories, poems, etc.? This has happened with a number of my published poems. Thus, Poetry & Song is a limited-run series where I share one of my published poems and the song that “helped me write” it. I also offer insights into why I chose that particular piece of music, as well as any other inspirations for the poem.

Some of you might know that I’m a published poet, with several poems accepted for print and online publication between 2012 and 2014. While I’m focusing on novels now, from time to time I’ve entertained ideas about how to discuss poetry (either my own or the poets I admire) here at the blog. Then, during last month’s Iceland Writers Retreat, I took Nadifa Mohamed’s “Music and Literature” workshop, which explored how the music we listen to can influence our writing. It turned out to be my favorite workshop of the event – and it also sparked the idea for this series.

Today I’d like to kick off the Poetry & Song series with “Elegy,” which was published in Soul-Lit’s Summer 2013 issue. And had it not been for a certain piano ballad by one of the most incredibly voices and songwriters in current pop music, I’m not sure “Elegy” would be what it is today. That’s why it’s impossible to talk about the poem without the song, or how that poem changed my feelings toward the song forever.

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“Elegy” Featured in Summer 2013 Issue of Soul-Lit

As previously announced on this blog, Soul-Lit has accepted my poem “Elegy” for its Summer 2013 issue. The issue is now available online for you to read. Click here to read “Elegy,” and click here to see the index of all of the poets featured in this issue. I highly recommend you check out the feature on Janice Rebibo as well as poems by Wayne-Daniel Berard, Richard Ballon, and Margaret Vidale, for starters.

If you’re curious about the inspiration behind “Elegy,” please read my blog entry about the Boston Marathon bombings. At the end, I mentioned how I felt compelled to write a poem that described my reaction to the horror and tragedy of this event. “Elegy” is that poem. It’s my tribute to the people who were injured or killed at the finish line, and also to the area of Boston I’ve visited the most in my lifetime.

Considering I wrote the poem in May, I’m still shocked by the fingersnap-quick turnaround from the first, handwritten draft to publication. I’m also thrilled and grateful to the editors of Soul-Lit for choosing to include it with beautiful, inspiring work by other poets from all over the world.

Soul-Lit is a quarterly online journal based in Massachusetts that focuses on spiritual poetry. Visit Soul-Lit’s website or Facebook page to learn more about the journal, its editors, and their distinction between spiritual poetry and secular / religious poetry.

Coming Soon: My review of Second Empire’s self-titled EP at Sonic Cathedral