Archive for November 10th, 2011

by lizard

Jeff Tweedy is a talented song writer, but when I thumbed through a collection of his poems, titled Adult Head, I found his assuming the role of poet to be a bit presumptuous.

I found an interesting article talking about this phenomenon, titled When Bad Poetry Happens to Good Rockers. Here is a snip from the article:

In the writing of a great lyric the intrusion of Mind is to be avoided: States of possession recommend themselves. Kurt Cobain wrote great lyrics because he was out on his feet, on the nod, mumbling and screaming in his sleep; Johnny Rotten because he was fizzing with blind, rodent-like fury; Lennon and McCartney because they liked to compose with the TV and radio on, mail being delivered, phones ringing, and all sorts of people dropping by — a continuum of distraction they called The Random. Oasis, for the purpose of writing great rock lyrics, pretended they were stupid.

Then there are the rock poets: the conscious ones, addressing themselves to the ages. They do not regard their work as disposable. Lou Reed, who studied poetry under Delmore Schwartz at Syracuse, published his selected lyrics in 1991 under the deeply pretentious title “Between Thought And Expression.” Patti Smith published a huge book called “Complete: Lyrics, Notes and Reflections” (1999). Now Jeff Tweedy, leader of the band Wilco, has become the latest rock notable to — in the words of Dickens’s Silas Wegg — drop into poetry.

A much less well known rocker, David Berman of the Silver Jews, made a much more significant poetic contribution IMHO with his book Actual Air. Here is a good review, which opens with this:

Few lyricists’ songwords could stand up to the blank scrutiny of ink-on-page, printed in the cold light of black-and-white far away from the safety of sentimental chord-changes and musical meter. David Berman’s could.

That lead-in gives a good explanation of why so many song lyrics can’t stand alone as poems. Below the fold is a poem from Berman’s Actual Air, and a bonus tune from his band The Silver Jews. Enjoy. Continue Reading »

  • Pages

  • Recent Comments

    Miles on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    success rate for In… on Thirty years ago ARCO killed A…
    Warrior for the Lord on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Linda Kelley-Miller on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Dan on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    Former Prosecutor Se… on Former Chief Deputy County Att…
    JediPeaceFrog on Montana AG Tim Fox and US Rep.…
  • Recent Posts

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,675,875 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,737 other followers

  • November 2011
    S M T W T F S
  • Categories