Taylor Swift’s ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ is here. Is it poetry? This is what experts say

(19 Apr 2024)
ASSOCIATED PRESS
ARCHIVE: Beverly Hills, Calif. – 7 January 2024
1. Various shots Taylor Swift posing at Golden Globes

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Austin, Texas – 19 April 2024
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Elizabeth Scala, professor – on Swift being recognized as a poet:
"And so there’s a way in which, mashing up songwriting and poetry is kind of returning to its earliest roots in European culture, at least. And that’s what I study. And so I have been particularly drawn to that. And and having students think about, many of the things that poetic production and songwriting today share. Right? So I would never say they’re absolutely identical, but they have a long and rich history together that is kind of re-energized and made really interesting by Taylor Swift thinking about poetics and poetry as she’s writing songs now. And I think she would say that—She might say her works are poetry but I also think the music is so important kind of poetry plus but there is certainly something poetical about the way that she writes and that is, somewhat different from every other song that might also have rhyme and meter, right? And much more of the regular rhythms that we kind of associate with poetry, that maybe the most modern and contemporary poetry actually doesn’t even use, right? Their their poetry is often freeform, doesn’t have rhyme, doesn’t have regular meter unless it’s read out loud by them. You don’t you you don’t recognize it as poetry by ear in the same way that a song with a chorus and a lot of heavy repetition in it, from verse to verse, that I think people kind of recognize as poetry."

ASSOCIATED PRESS
ARCHIVE: Newark, New Jersey – 12 September 2023
3. Various Taylor Swift posing

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Austin, Texas – 19 April 2024
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Elizabeth Scala, professo – comparing Swift to Sylvia Plath:
"I am at the point of my semester with my students, where we have just finished reading, ‘Mad Woman’ and ‘Tolerate iI’. Right? So I am in the Sylvia Plath moment of my course, and it seems like, this album particularly is giving me some serious similarly to Sylvia Plath vibes. And so the one of the things that I would say and this might not, feel like poetic, poetic analysis, but certainly is literary analysis, right, is that there is a dissonance between the way ‘Fortnight’ sounds, the kind of like, you know, like I would say rhythmic vibe of that song. It’s not really like kind of a bop, right? But it is in complete tension with the words that she’s saying—the music is almost soothing and smooth, and the words are about, you know, ‘My mornings are Mondays stuck in an endless February,’ which I think is like the most poetic line in that song. And it kind of encapsulates the boredom with the ordinary. And then she unleashes the kind of tension and anger in the ordinary, in those, in those verses."

ASSOCIATED PRESS
ARCHIVE: Newark, New Jersey – 28 August 2022
5. Various shots Taylor Swift posing at the Video Music Awards
STORYLINE:
On Friday, Taylor Swift released her 11th studio album, “The Tortured Poets Department.” But just how poetic is it? Is it even possible to close read lyrics like poems, divorced from their musical source material?

Scala said “There is something poetical about the way she writes,” adding that her work on “The Tortured Poets Department” references a time before print technology when people sang poems. “In the earliest stages of English poetry, they were inseparable,” she says. “Not absolutely identical, but they have a long and rich history together that is re-energized by Taylor Swift.”

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Author: admin