Making Poetry and Music: An International Collaboration

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This year Whitireia poetry students will not only create a portfolio of poems, but also have some of their poems set to music—by students at a Wisconsin University.

It’s thanks to a chance conversation between Creative Writing Programme Leader Mary-Jane Duffy and another tutor when they met at the 7th International Conference of Visual and Performing Arts in Athens earlier this year.

‘Mary Ellen Haupert runs a composition course at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin. We struck up a conversation and came up with this fantastic way for our classes to collaborate.’

Each of the Whitireia poetry students and Mary-Jane will send a short bio and photo, and indicate two or three poems they’d like to have put to music. Mary Ellen’s students will read the bios and choose the poems they’ll compose for.

‘Our students were up for it,’ says Mary-Jane. ‘Poetry’s meant to have its own internal music and good surprising poems could create a really interesting mix.’