A new article on the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s musical setting of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem “A Corn Song” appears in the inaugural issue of J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists.
Here, the author of the article, Tsitsi Jaji, performs the the song and discusses how she came to sing it as part of her scholarship.
A Corn Song by PennPress
Why Sing a Poem?
In my article for the cluster on American poetics of the nineteenth century I begin with a series of questions: “What can we learn about reading poetry on and off the page from musical composers’ settings of poetry in art songs? How do art songs work as a form of poetics? How do we allow for a composer’s style and resist facile notions of meaning in music while also recognizing the thoughtful textual analyses in art songs?” How I came to care about these questions, and why the Afro-British composer, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s 1897 musical setting of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem “A Corn Song” proved such a fun way to engage these questions is the story I invite you to consider here.