This week, my Intro to Creative Writing class is talking poetry. Specifically, we’re discussing content… stuff like imagery, figurative language, diction, persona, etc. We are assigned several poems to read that illustrate the different topics, and then we each get to choose one of several writing exercises. Yesterday, I was reading through the poems assigned, trying to decide which writing exercise I wanted to complete. Three of the poems were by Ranier Maria Rilke. One of the writing exercises involved writing a poem about the objects belonging to a dead person.
You may know where I’m going with this.
Remember Rainer Maria? Yeah, they were “intellectual” and were named after the poet. I saw them a couple times at Clunk Music Hall (RIP) in Fayetteville, Arkansas, back in the late 1990s/early 2000s. I thought that Caithlin De Marrais was pretty badass (she sang and played the bass, and she always rocked out), and I really loved some of their songs.
Anyway, they had a song called “The Contents of Lincoln’s Pockets” that was inspired by seeing a display of, well, the contents of President Lincoln’s pockets on the night that he was shot. So between the Ranier Maria Rilke poems I was reading and the dead person’s stuff writing exercise, I could not get this song out of my head! I tried and failed to find a good video for it on YouTube. I did some Googling and refamiliarized myself with a band I haven’t really thought about in several years. I even talked myself out of doing the dead person’s stuff exercise because I didn’t want to accidentally plagiarize.
But I still couldn’t get the song out of my head.