Dear Artful Codger and all,
You must be in possession of great learning to be so authoritative about inspiration and the motives of self-absorbed artists who insist on "spontaneous inspiration." The fact is that there are many ways to skin this cat, one being spontaneously. You may have heard Paul McCartney relate how the melody for "Yesterday" came to him in a dream?
As for staying on the thread (music to existing words/poetry), if the comment was addressed to me, you may wish to note that I was on the topic. I set the poems of W B Yeats (Nobel Laureate)to music. Nearly all of the poems I've done (about 250) have come through spontaneously, sometimes very rapidly (on three occassions 12 at a time in about 40 minutes each session). Now whether they are any good or not will be judged later by the listeners, but still I can not minimize the validity of spontaneous inspiration. Yes, I do agree that preparation is a key, but I know that the Muse is real. Evidence on CDbaby.
Cheers, Doug Saum