Monday, July 17, 2006

American Poetry

I have been thinking for a while about why Americans these days don't much care for poetry. I think we do, actually, but our poetry is mixed with music into song lyrics. We care passionately about our music, whether we listen to rock, pop, jazz, country or some fusion. Some songwriters write terrific lyrics, as good as any poetry. People like Leonard Cohen or Paul Simon or Bob Dylan just write wonderful lyrics that are only enhanced by the music. Others write lyrics that seem sort of silly if you see them printed out, but when they mix with melody and rhythm, they really take on a whole new life. There are modern American poets who are just terrific, but ordinary people get their poetry from songwriters. I wonder how my poems would sound set to music? They are too un-even, I think.

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