Oregon, April 2020

so war das, als ich mit William Staffords sohn emails schrieb, während die welt im lockdown war. (nine):

„Dear Mr. Stafford,
my name is nine mai, I sing and play in a small punkrock band from Cologne, Germany and I have a question for you that is very dear to my heart.

foto: http://williamstaffordarchives.org/poem/28/

Some years ago I wrote a song called „Animal Kingdom“. I stumbled across the poem „Outside“ by your father William Stafford – and was immediately in love. The gentle warning, the humility, the border-crossing coyotes between human and non-human worlds – I sat down with my guitar without thinking much about it and weaved the verses with my own (few) words into a song I called „Animal Kingdom“.

so now – against all odds and expectations – we will have an album published (it’s called „A Monster a Day“) and „Animal Kingdom“ will also be on it. And of course I completely forgot to inform myself about rights of use and didn’t even think about the fact that I set a somebody elses poem to music.  At the time I wrote the song and and sang those words I was writing it for myself, not having a release of any kind in mind.

So here’s my question: If you own the copyright or other rights and I assume that you do – do I have your permission to publish the song on our album? Of course only with the appropriate note and clearly marked which part of the lyrics belong to the poem.

Our band is called „Molly Punch“, an (admittedly bad and old) demo-recording of the song can be found here. Also, my own words, I added in the chorus.

Would you allow us to publish the song like this? It would mean a lot to me. If you can relate to this kind of music at all, I will of course send you a copy of the finished album!

Greetings from the other end of the world in those crazy times. I hope you and your loved ones are well and healthy.

Dear Nine

What a wonderful thing you have done–liberated my father’s poem from the page into the realm of wild music. I love hearing his words in your beautifully hard-driving voice. Bravo.

And also what an honorable thing to ask about permission, doing it right. The process is this: if you can fill out the form I’ve attached with as much information as is easy, just putting down what you can say about your project, and send it over and we will send you formal permission and a sentence to use in your fine print for the acknowledgment, and also an address to send a copy of the work once it’s done.

In the summer of 1969, I slept in a cemetery in Köln while hitchhiking through Europe. Crows waked me there. Outside!

I celebrate what you are doing at this mysterious time.

Be well in all ways,Kim Stafford

P.S. I occupy another room in the mansion of word and music. Here are three poems set to harp by a friend here in Oregon. 


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