April 20, 2016

Lewis Center presents Performance of Original Songs by Students in the Spring course, “How to Write a Song” led by poet Paul Muldoon

Students in the spring 2016 course “How to Write a Song,” offered by the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Creative Writing and the Department of Music, will present original songs at a concert on April 26 at 4:30 p.m. at the Frist Campus Center Theater on the Princeton campus. The 21 students will perform selected new work completed over the past semester. The concert is free and open to the public.


Students from a past “How to Write a Song” class. Photo by Denise Applewhite

Led by Pulitzer-prize winning poet Paul Muldoon, this enormously popular course required students to write new music throughout the semester inspired by a broad range of varying emotions. Each week the students, all with varying levels of literary and musical backgrounds, split into different groupings of two to three participants and wrote lyrics and composed tunes on an assigned emotional topic, such as remorse, joy, despair, or desire. At each class, the students performed their pieces for Muldoon and their classmates, who then provided critiques.

The class welcomed a range of professional musicians as guest artists throughout the semester, including Steve Martin, Rosanne Cash, and Adam Schlesinger, bassist and songwriter of Fountains of Wayne.

“It’s been a delight spending the past semester with these students,” notes Muldoon. “They have demonstrated amazing creativity and dedication in bringing new work to class each week, and have offered incredibly insightful comments on one another’s work. At some level, I could step away and this group of artists could continue making exciting new work.”

Muldoon is the Howard G.B. Clark ’21 University Professor in the Humanities, Professor of Creative Writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts, and Director of the Princeton Atelier. He has been described by the The Times Literary Supplement as “the most significant English-language poet born since the Second World War” and has published numerous volumes of poetry, among them The Annals of Chile (1994), for which he won the T.S. Eliot Prize, and Moy Sand and Gravel (2002) for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the Griffin Poetry Prize. He is a recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in England and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Since 2007 he has served as the Poetry Editor at The New Yorker.

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