With my poem-song band, The Lyrical Outlaws, I have been transforming poems into songs and thus, beginning to explore how this process works, what the difference is between a lyric and lyrics, what knowledge I bring to bear on this path of musical translation.
1/Songs have the language of music added to them, which is why lyrics must be simpler than poems; they have to share a sonic space.
2/A poet must be an ear musician; a lyricist a musical body part.
3/Translating poems into songs is like stripping lexical flesh down to its starker spine, so the words may become divining rods at the core of melodies.
& for one example of how this has been evolving for me, listen to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2Vi0TEXlm4 and read the contrast between the posted poem and its conversion into song lyrics.
Then let me know what you think 🙂