I Like To Blend Poetry & Song Lyrics
My close readers comment on the lyrical nature of my poetry. I rarely conform to traditions, and mostly, play with pop music allusions, rhyme, rhythm, imagery, wordplay, and repetition. Often, I end up embedding an allusion to a well-known song in the poem, or I write the poem in a musical manner.
I’ve never studied music beyond introductory high school courses, but I’ve always loved listening to music and deciphering song lyrics.
One of my pastimes was listening to my parents’ record albums, such as The Beatles, Queen, Fleetwood Mac, and Rolling Stones. Since I am of Generation X, it was music that became my escape and salvation:
We still didn’t have much access to technology, such as personal devices. We did, however, have our own cassette player (aka “walkman”), and eventually a CD player (aka “discman”). It was common to listen to your favorite albums on repeat either in your bedroom or on a road trip.
Some of my favorite early music artists included Madonna, Michael Jackson, Wham, Prince, Guns N’ Roses, U2, Sheryl Crow, and Sinead O’Connor.
My Love of Song Lyrics Led Me To Poetry
While I may have first discovered a love of music and lyrics, it was that road that led me to poetry. While I was exposed to some poets like Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, and Robert Frost in high school, I also discovered poets on my own through pop culture.
For instance, I was a fan of the music artist Jewel who went on to publish a book of poetry, A Night Without Armor, that I devoured. She was the one who taught me that poetry and song could coexist and inform one another.
Then, there was the poetry of the rapper Tupac Shakur who published the poetry book, The Rose That Grew From Concrete; it was raw, vulnerable, and rich in rhythm and rhyme, whereas, Jewel was more of a lyrical / folk writer.