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Chicago's Experimental Poetry Community

Connection Between Music & Poetry

Music and poetry share some important attributes: rhythm, cadence, rhyme and repetition. In a deeper sense, both touch the inner emotional lives of the people who create or listen to either. Thus, teaching children early on to appreciate musical forms and then reinterpret those forms into the realm of poetry can facilitate respect for both disciplines.

Today's popular rap music supplies a very direct link between music and poetry: rap lyrics are poetry, and often very good poetry. While often dismissed by older generations, rap is enjoyed by a whole range of young individuals, not just ones in the hood. That's due to the combination of powerful lyrics, often rhyming and always rhythmic, with highly percussive music that emphasizes the cadence of the lyrics. These characteristics are accessible and exciting to many young persons.

The stereotype of loud music broadcast on shoulder-worn boom boxes has largely been supplanted by the new generation of personal music devices. Now, young people can listen to rap all their waking hours without disturbing others. The only problem is when a kid's music device breaks. Luckily, the costs of services such as IPod repair have fallen due to the existence of Internet-based repair companies like Rhousemedia. Since their rates are so low, everyone can afford to send their IPods to Rhousemedia for quick repair. Rhousemedia provides free postage and labor Ė customers pay only for parts. Now, young music listeners can be reunited with their beloved rap in a matter of a few days.

Rap also encourages people to create their own lyrics, which is to say, to write their own poetry. The experiences of growing up in a polluted, impoverished world give much fodder to the imagination of young lyricists. Anger can be channeled into a capitalistic venture that can help all concerned. Rather than spark violence, most studies show rap music to defuse it, to give it vent in a nonviolent way. Budding artists who become serious about their craft naturally seek to become more literate as their talent matures. A respect for poetry as its own discipline can develop in those who first were only concerned with lyrics. The musical rhythms of rap music can bridge the gap to understanding the cadence and meter of poetry. These are positive developments for both music and poetry.