THE ESSENTIALS: Creating a Poem with Rhythm and Music

by Kathleen Driskell
Spalding MFA Faculty, Poetry

“…it’s usually the music that takes the poem from proficient to unforgettable.”

Recently, I was asked to judge a poetry competition that called me to read and think about hundreds of poems. Sifting through heaps of entries, I found, as I usually do when judging a poetry contest (or when I’m looking through submissions for The Louisville Review) that nearly all poems submitted are proficient, obviously made with some know-how. And because of that it might seem an impossible task to choose a handful of “winners” and “honorable mentions” from the many, but surprisingly, it never really is. Continue reading “THE ESSENTIALS: Creating a Poem with Rhythm and Music”

R.E.M., Dinosaur Jr., Self-Actualization

by Shane McCrae
Spalding MFA Faculty, Poetry

Probably you’re too young to remember this—or were too sane at the time to care—but back in the early 90s, when R.E.M. were considered the best band in the world by more than a few people, back when they had just released Out of Time, both the band and their fans began expressing anxiety about the band returning to their roots—i.e., the people wanted R.E.M. to make an up-tempo album again, a rocking, electric album, and the band wanted to make the people happy. Let’s set aside the fact that R.E.M.’s first album, Murmur, while marginally more up-tempo than Out of Time and definitely more up-tempo than Automatic for the People, was in only the vaguest sense a rock record—R.E.M. gets very little credit for having started out as one of America’s finest early purveyors of pop-inflected post-punk obscurities—and concentrate instead on what happened when R.E.M. actually made the record the people seemed to want: Monster. Real talk: I hate Monster. Continue reading “R.E.M., Dinosaur Jr., Self-Actualization”