Author and moderator Philip Graham
Author and moderator Philip Graham


Authors Discuss Individual Interpretations of Music

March 26, 2022

(PHILADELPHIA) According to author Philip Graham, we are all eavesdropping when we listen to music. 


While he didn’t elaborate on what he meant by this, we can probably all understand what he meant.


Graham was part of a panel called Where Words and Music Meet: Writerly Revelations of Deep Listening. The panel was part of the AWP Conference and Bookfair in Philadelphia, the largest literary conference in the country.


Karen Thompson, an author and professor at the University of Southern California, was one of the panelists. She talked about the personal experience we all have when we hear a song.


“How we hear it is based on our context,” Thompson said.


The panelists all spoke about the connections between themselves and music. 


Desirae Matherly, the chair of English and languages at Tusculum University, said that albums tell us how people see the world. 


“These are the soundtracks of our lives,” Matherly said.


Sometimes writing about music misses the point, said Thomas Larson, the author of several books, including Spirituality and the Writer: A Personal Inquiry,  and The Sanctuary of Illness: A Memoir of Heart Disease.


“Music doesn’t need us to describe it,” Larson said.


Graham, the author of seven books of fiction and nonfiction, talked about how music helped him recover from cancer.


The healing power of music, he said, shows it’s more than just something to listen to.


“We are all writers of music,”Graham said, “and we are all lovers of music.”

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About the Contributor
Gavin Phillips is a senior Writing in Publishing major from Aliquippa. This is his first year on the Siren. He likes hiking and trying new things.

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