There is a link between the arts: rarely do you find a person enveloped in music who does not also appreciate literature, art, or theatre. Those who enjoy writing, I always naturally assumed, will have a base appreciation for music. I decided to test this hypothesis on M. Chase Whittemore, a poet.

Whittemore is the creator of Half Pound Poetry, a site that offers poetry at request. Whittemore, a twenty-one year old college student, heard that during the Renaissance, patrons would select prompts from which poets and painters would create a piece of work. Captured by the notion, Whittemore opened a site that allowed anyone to submit requests for a poem. Not only is the reader allowed to choose the topic of the poem, but the “patron” also decides what type of poem will be written, whether that is a sonnet, free verse, haiku, heroic couplet, etc.

I requested a free verse poem asking Whittemore how he felt, sensed, and understood music and how that affected him. A broad prompt, allowing for creative freedom both in style and interpretation.

The result was delightful: within a few hours of my submission, Whittemore had responded to my email with a few questions so he would fully understand my expectations. He then wrote a poem was personal for me, but easily applies to all who enjoy music.

Music, is sitting beside my bed
Fingering her strings
Moistening her woodwinds
Clearing her horns
Warming up those low-sounding animal skins
And dusting off each high pitched metal disk
One by one by one
While waiting for me to submit a request

“Jazz?” She asks as I enter the room
“Or maybe something Indie?”
I muddle a few words of the poem I’ve been writing
Since I exited the Tube, and removed my ear buds
So to talk to friends, I quickly lost in a crowd
“Or,” she says smiling at the hand
Placed over my lips “is David Stith
A better accompaniment for your current composition?”

Music knows me well
Each note of the album helps to lure Words
From alleyways and country houses
To a concert hall downtown
Where they’ll attempt to dance
Forever, in poetry.

Whittemore believes that most modern poetry is almost too subjective and emotional, and so while the poet himself receives enormous satisfaction in writing, the poetry becomes nearly exclusive to the creator. In allowing anyone to request a poem, Whittemore is attempting to rejoin poetry and people. “When I write poetry I don’t want it to be for me; I want it to be for everyone,” he says. “I want them to see that poetry can connect with them.”

Overall, Half Pound Poetry is an enchanting experience, from Whittemore’s initial requests for detailed instructions to the resulting poem that beautifully explains one of the effects that music has on the mind. As Whittemore acknowledges, “[A poem] begins in delight and ends in wisdom.”

Lauren Harris is a Patrol contributor.

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