Thursday, 29 October 2015

For or after

I've been writing a poem that takes as its inspiration, or at least its point of departure, an album by a favourite songwriter of mine. He's not exactly a household name worldwide, but he's still pretty well-known.

Thing is, I don't want to use his name in the poem's title (because I already have a good title), but I think I do need to give the reader a pointer as to who it's about, because as I've said, he's not so famous that they automatically know.

So how do you do it? Making it "for..." doesn't seem right, given that I've never met the bloke or had any sort of contact with him. I'm not sure, though, that "after..." does either, because although a few words of his lyrics appear in the poem, it isn't really that closely connected to any of his songs. So is there another way? Advice very welcome.


Poetry Pleases! said...

Dear Matt

How about'homage to'? (This could be my shortest comment ever!)

Best wishes from Simon R. Gladdish

Clarissa Aykroyd said...

If it doesn't feel totally wrong to you I would just go with "for Mr X" or "after Mr X" (it sounds like either would work in this context.)

I don't think "for" necessarily implies that you know him, just that it's a tribute - "after" also implies tribute or inspiration.

Your only other option is probably to put in some sort of footnote/n.b.

Matt Merritt said...

Thanks, both - probably will end up being "for..." It needs a lot more work yet anyway

The Editors said...

Hi Matt,

I'd be inclined to be a little more elaborate. I've been reading a lot of Harryette Mullan and Terrance Hayes lately, and they're both adept at using anagrams (or anagram-related forms) in their work to create a kind of unspoken sonic music to tie the poem together. Perhaps you could do something with the songwriter's name in this instance: fracture it into its component phonemes, and scatter them let breadcrumbs through the poem. Let the ear read its way through the clues.


Simon T.