The Argotist Online
Quinn started writing poetry on his return from Galway to Belfast in 1992 to
help promote peace and love. His main motivation in writing is for
healing, understanding, love and peace. He also sings and writes songs.
you think of your lyrics as poetry?
would regard my lyrics as words which are written to convey or
communicate a message. I wrote 2 poems which later with a bit of adaptation
became songs. The titles of these were ‘I Love Your Smile’ and ‘Let Me
Hold You Dear”. They could be regarded as poetical and sung to a tune
nevertheless they then become songs. Leaving music aside I don't regard poems
and songs as mutually exclusive things. When I write I do not conform to set
patterns and do not put any restrictions on my writing. You must be free and
easy the message should not be confined in anyway. There are no such things as
rules in my mind for songs or poems. The highly admired Leonard Cohen as far as
I know started of as a poet then singer/songwriter.
Do you think it is important that songs rhyme and if so why?
I think it is beneficial if they rhyme as long as it does not interfere with the
message. Most people like a catchy tune/song they can remember and sing along
to. Music can be enhanced by rhyming words, it helps the tune. I think it is a
skilful thing to use rhyming and keeping to the theme.
Do you think song lyrics must conform to recognised song structures such as
clear rhyming schemes, choruses, refrains, hooks and bridges or that songs can
also be like free verse?
think that when writing a song there should be no restrictions other than the
lyrics and music are compatible. I wrote two poems which I later transferred to
songs and they have become popular. There was no set structure here. Having said
that a lot of the time rhyming, chorus, hooks etc. can make a song more
attractive and pleasant to the ear. It very much depends on individual taste.
When you read poetry in school or elsewhere did you recognize any
connection to the music you enjoyed?
The connection with poetry and songs are language, themes, rhyming, metaphors,
similes, imagery and stories. People tend to write about similar topics in songs
to that which they read in poems.
Was there anything about poetry in books that influenced your
I must admit that most of my songwriting comes from personal experiences
in life. The poetry teaches me how to express myself as all writing does. I am
more of a writer than reader. My songwriting at present is dedicated to a
project of love and peace.
Why do you think songs are more popular with people than poetry is?
I feel songs are more popular mainly because of the music content, and also the
fact that the words are sung makes them more pleasant to the ear. Songs are more
soothing, relaxing or entertaining than the spoken word. Some people are not
readers by nature but nearly everyone has a musical collection. People can laugh
and dance to music and songs. Songs get people more excited or relaxed.
© Brendan Quinn