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Meinke says, is because he and his wife are not very "tech-y". We never use our computers.” They don’t listen to CDs unless they’re traveling in their car, he explains. Dawson says he suspected the poet laureate was initially “put off” by the recording because it was operatic. Holloway and soprano Nadia Marshall will sing, accompanied by Mr. They will also perform other new vocal music, including songs Mr. S., but “we really didn’t pick up on it.” “What attracted me to his poems and made me want to put them to music is his love of words,” Mr. Like every other boy, he wanted to play second base for the Brooklyn Dodgers. His first book of short stories, “The Piano Tuner,” won the 1986 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. One of his roles as poet laureate is to be an ambassador and an advocate for poetry.“She is a consummate singer, a world-class opera singer … “Someone reads a poem and says, ‘I thought that, but didn’t know I knew it, or didn’t know how to say it.’ If more people read poetry, they’d have more experiences like that.” Poetry is a different kind of language, he says, but no one can agree exactly what it is.For her to be championing my songs is an extra honor for me.”This was a couple of years ago. He realizes that it’s not the best-loved art, especially in the United States. It’s a little too French-y, or European or intellectual,” he says. (Poetry) is something that the elite did, and we know what a lot of Americans think of the elite.” Yet, he says, when people feel something important is happening to them, they often turn to poetry — even Americans.“It blew our heads off,” Florida Poet Laureate Peter Meinke says about hearing his poetry put to music. Petersburg to meet with the Meinkes and play them the music he’d composed, the 82-year-old poet was surprised to hear opera soprano Steffanie Pearce singing his words. “The music comes out as I follow the lines of his poems. “I do have to bring some craft to it, obviously,” he adds. I came out now and then to show a teacher and get some encouragement. Even when I went to college, I didn’t know of literary magazines.” So he submitted his poems to The Ladies Home Journal and Cosmopolitan, and they were published. He and his family moved to Florida in 1966, where he founded and became the director of Eckerd College’s creative writing program, one of the first in the country.
He and his wife, artist/illustrator Jeanne Clark Meinke, were sitting in composer William Dawson’s car. Dawson had just played them a song he’d composed, using the poet laureate’s verse as lyrics. No one had ever done that before, he says, except for a college student here and there over the years who had strummed a guitar and sung his poems. “It was so different from singing words with a guitar, a totally different version,” the poet says. We like the idea of mixing the arts.” After all, he adds, his wife has illustrated many of his books with her pen and ink drawings. “We don’t know much about it.” He and his family did spend one year in Warsaw, Poland, in the late 1970s, when he was a Fulbright professor of American poetry. “You couldn’t get anything except bread, vodka and really cheap opera, like for a dollar. He loves the sound of words and the juxtaposition of words against other words. “I make decisions and change things and revise.” But it was a relatively easy process, he says. Meinke grew up in a blue-collar family in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, N. Early in his career, he taught high school English, then earned his Ph. Now retired, he’s been writer-in-residence at several dozen colleges.
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