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I know I haven't done one of these in a while, but I had the desire to share a little bit of wealth and ask a favor of the literarily-inclined population of Gaia.

I highly recommend that you read everything before posting/entering. biggrin (And perhaps reread, in case there are updates.)

Index

The Background
The Task
The Rules
The Prizes
The Q&A
The Entries
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I am a music major in college, and I'm about to start applying to graduate schools in theory/composition. There's one small problem, though. A lot of grad schools in composition ask to see a portfolio of one's work as a part of the application process.

Well... I haven't got one. xp

So I had the idea of putting together a choral song cycle using poetry. However, it occurred to me that I didn't really have any idea where to start finding poetry that would suit my desires. Then I realized that the best way to set modern music is to modern words.

Which is where you come in!
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I am asking you to write a poem that would belong in a collection of songs under the title "Songs for Longing."

I know that the feeling of youthful and unfulfilled love is practically dashed dry in poetry and lyrics, but it remains a very real and important feeling to me as well as a theme that permeates all ages. I'm looking for poems that offer a young perspective with maturity - in other words, the knowledge to treat a given situation without bias, and the foolishness to ignore that knowledge.

Let me clarify that these works will not be used for anything beyond this portfolio, and the most I may ever ask you for is your full name (if you should desire to share that). My intensions are completely honorable, and credit will be given where it is due. However, if you are not comfortable in sharing your work with me, that's perfectly fine - just realize that it won't really benefit you (or me) to enter.

Some suggestions with regards to these entries:
  • Think about your medium.
    This is not just about words to the page; it's about words to the voice. More specifically, the music will be designed for a concert setting. So, if you write a song designed for screamer rock or solo voice and guitar, you're not really setting yourself up for success. neutral But beyond the basics, consider the voicing. Do you hear it suitable for mixed, women's, or men's voices? Is there complexity or more solid sound? You don't have to know what the music sounds like in your head (after all, that's supposed to be my job wink ), but don't forget the purpose: many voices, with one sound.

  • Read it aloud!
    If it doesn't sound quite right spoken, how do you think it would sound okay sung? xp Get a feel for the words in the air moreso than on paper.

  • Consider the mood.
    I love puns as much as the next guy, but I want the theme of this to be more reflective and moody. So things like wordplay are nice in theory, but they may not work so well in practice. Just something to think about.

    Also, since this is for concert performance, please keep in mind that swearing should be kept to an absolute minimum. I'm not restricting your creativity; I'm laying down the law. The audience doesn't want to hear a bunch of "********" and "s**t." Save it for another contest.

  • Consider detail.
    If I just wanted to hear about generic experiences, I could write my own stuff. The point of this is to hear about your experiences and feelings, so be specific.

  • I am a critic.
    I know that doesn't sound like an especially important detail, but remember: I am highly critical of my own work, which means I demand just as much from the stuff I'll be working with. Basically, don't dig through a drawer or an old journal and say, "Hey, look! She might like this!" Think about what you want to say and how you want to say it.

Really, I'm giving a lot of freedom here. The subjects and images can be as varied and unique as you like.
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First and foremost: do not PM me. It's that simple. If you have a question, post here and ask.

This contest will run until June 10th at 11:59 PM CDT, at which time all final drafts will be collected. I will post a notification stating that the contest is over. Any posts submitted after that notice will not be eligible.

There is no entry fee. All you have to do to enter is post your work in this thread. NOTE: it does not have to be a final draft. I will allow edits on all works until the final day of the contest.

If you wish to submit multiple entries, submit a new post for each one (see Q&A for more about that).

I will be the sole judge of this contest. That means that everything is completely subjective, mostly because I'm the one working with them after this contest is over.

Do not plagiarize. Though I feel this should go without saying, the whole point is to draw from your own experience. In addition, plagiarism is a violation of the Terms of Service. I take this very seriously, so don't even try it.

All those caught not reading the rules will be stared at intensely until they go back and read the rules. xp

And, as a final note, don't PM me.

(subject to updates as I remember things)
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What would a contest be without reward, eh? wink

Considering that each poem will have an equal part in this collection, each winner will be awarded 3000 gold for their efforts. On top of that, the best metrical poem and the best non-metrical (free verse) poem will each receive a Deluxe Flower Bouquet as special recognition.

In addition, all contestants are invited to attend a birthday bash thread that I will be creating for my 21st birthday, where the winners will be announced. There will be party favors handed out and much joviality, so do come to say hello and congratulate the winners. 3nodding

Many thanks to the CCF for their generous donation!
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Is there a limit to the number of entries allowed in this contest?

No. The only limit is time.

So, how many entries can I submit?

You can submit as many as you like, though remember the expectation of quality. Two or three okay entries will not get you nearly as far as one really good entry. Big thing, though, is that you cannot win more than once. Even if you have two stellar, genius works of art, you are only eligible for one prize.

What is the difference between "metrical" and "free verse," and why are you distinguishing the two?

Metrical poetry should have a distinct pulse to it (see the Guide to the Art of Poetry sticky in the OP/L for more details). This includes a lot of forms, both rhyming and not. Since the words inherently have strong beats and weak beats, it fits well into music.

Free verse, by definition, lacks meter and therefore is a completely different animal to set. However, it's not impossible, and it has some really interesting results.

Therefore, that is the primary distinction I'm using for the top prizes.

Can I seriously use any form I want?

Yes. Whatever you think works best is what you should use.

I don't really know where to go with this. Anything you can give me any ideas?

Well, here's a few starting places:

Eric Whitacre. You can listen to samples of his music on his website, http://www.ericwhitacre.com/main.html . This man will probably have a huge impact on my choral writing. Listen to/read Octavio Paz, especially. Oh, and if you go, you are required to read "Sleep" by C. A. Silvestri.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Originally, I was going to draw from her Sonnets of the Portuguese, if that gives any idea as to where my mind was.

Zae Munn. Less well-known than Whitacre, but I did a series of pieces for women's choir in which she set poetry by Ann Kilkelly. If you want to learn more about this and can't find anything on the Internet, ask me about the pieces I conducted/sang.

Will I get a critique with my entry?

Sadly, no. Due to time constraints (and the fact that the focus of this contest is the music), I will not be able to critique your work.

Why aren't you doing your own damn work?

You know, if I really wanted to, I could. But part of the objective is to feature several different voices in terms of perspective. In addition, the cycle will be 6 songs in total - 5 from different contributors of poetry, and one using my own poetry. It'll give me experience wrestling with both my words and the words of others.

Besides, you're getting free stuff. Think of it as a commission. xp

If I have a question, should I PM you?

NO.

And I say that only because PMs tend to get buried in my already-cluttered inbox.

(subject to updates the more that I talk to myself)
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princess.bananahammock - Love Affair of Falling Down
GoldenRoya - Homeward Bound
Faeng_morality - Untitled
Rose McCann - Something New
Kutebare~Kisama - Unforeseen Love
ellie510 - The Child Inside
Lady Culfin - AND I COULD WASTE MY TIME
Completely Obvious - Releasing the air
Vespertine - Atlas
Armor Felix - Please go to the next window
Bakkatomi - As I Lay In My Coffin
Kiria Delusional Kitty - In Absentia
Vespertine - Arid
Kiria Delusional Kitty - Hindsight
Barboxacon - Untitled
I'll be certain to have an entry in. I've started just now.
Good luck with this, it's a charming idea.

I was just also wondering, do you want our notes on how we think parts ought be musically arranged? Though, yes, that is your job, would you still like any thoughts we have on that submited with our entries?
I have a question.
If we have our entrys, where do we put them? And does it need a chorus?
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Barboxacon
I'll be certain to have an entry in. I've started just now.
Good luck with this, it's a charming idea.

I was just also wondering, do you want our notes on how we think parts ought be musically arranged? Though, yes, that is your job, would you still like any thoughts we have on that submited with our entries?

If you have ideas, then yes, please feel free to add notes to your entry. 3nodding I reserve the right to make the final decisions, though.

Raven_Blackwing
I have a question.
If we have our entrys, where do we put them? And does it need a chorus?

Please reread The Rules. All poems should be posted here.

If you're asking if it should be in verse/chorus format, then no, it does not have to.
I'll soooo be back for this.
My brother's a music major in college. Which is neither here nor there, really. xD

I'ma see what I can come up with for this. It sounds interesting.
Love Affair of Falling Down

Testing heights above my brow
I fall with arms as sashes flung;
my jaw concretes the landing,
squeezing jargon down my lung.

Gravity drowns my swollen chest
as my arms cradle such b*****d breasts
that feared to feed my pearled-up hope,
and again I climb to severed crest.

Stretching arms in leather-lock,
my feather-stock forgets [to kiss] me.
Immune to mind-in-moment-love,
I tango-tangle with debris.

But as I waltz a mid-air dance
the gravity of rockís loveís aroused;
it pulls me to and slams me down,
my body finally espoused.
Believe it or not, this is something I've always meant to do, but I could never settle on a subject matter.But now you've forced one on me!

I'll try my damn'dest to help you out.
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Follow My Lied
Believe it or not, this is something I've always meant to do, but I could never settle on a subject matter.But now you've forced one on me!

I'll try my damn'dest to help you out.

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