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Lewis Center for the Arts presents Performance of Original Songs by Students in the Spring 2014 course, “How to Write a Song,” led by Paul Muldoon and John Wesley Harding 


Steve Runk     
Director of Communications
Lewis Center for the Arts

Students in the spring 2014 course “How to Write a Song,” offered by the Department of Music and the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Creative Writing, will present original songs at a concert on April 28 at 4:30 p.m. at the Frist Campus Center Theater on the Princeton campus. The 17 students will perform selected new work completed over the past semester under the guidance of poet and songwriter Paul Muldoon and British songwriter and author John Wesley Harding. The performance is free and open to the public.

The goal of Muldoon and Harding’s class was to encourage students to explore their own emotional cores through lyrics and songwriting. 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 their instructors and classmates, who then provided critiques.

The course was first offered last spring as a one-time Princeton Atelier course, however due to its popularity and the exciting work that emerged from the inaugural year, the course was offered again this year through a collaboration of the Lewis Center and the Department of Music.

“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, Wes and I could step away and this group of artists could continue making exciting new work."

Students who wrote the works to be presented and who will perform them are Farhan Abroln ’14, Matthew Barouch ’16, Ted Brundage ’14, Marta Cabral ’16, Paulani Cortez-Villas ’17, Ben Cruz ’17, Alex Cuadrado ’16, Leora Friedman ’14, Ava Geyer ’15, Seth Hazleton ’14, Angeline Jacques ’16, Carla Javier ’15, Stanley Mathabane ’17, Christopher Prisco ’14, Kelly Shon ’14, Judy Sun ’14, and Jacob Tempchin ’14.

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 Chair of the Fund for Irish Studies. 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. In March he received the Freedom of the City of London at Guildhall in recognition of his outstanding contribution to poetry. Since 2007 he has served as the Poetry Editor at The New Yorker. Muldoon has written songs with Warren Zevon and is a member of the Princeton-based band Wayside Shrines, whose most recent album is The Word on the Street.

Harding, who also writes under the name Wesley Stace, released The Sound of His Own Voice, his most recent of 17 albums, in October 2011. He has also published three novels, including the international bestseller Misfortune.  His most recent book, Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer, made both The Wall Street Journal’s Top Ten Novels of The Year and Top Ten Mysteries of The Year. He also created John Wesley Harding’s Cabinet of Wonders, a touring musical-comedy-literary variety show, soon to air on NPR. The New Yorker called it “one of the finest nights of entertainment this city has to offer.” Harding reviews for The Times Literary Supplement and is currently writer-in-residence at Fairleigh Dickinson University.


Link to photo:
Photo caption:  Students from last year’s course in “How to Write a Song”
Photo credits:  Photo by Denise Applewhite

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