Taylor Swift's 11 studio album, "The Tortured Poets Department," has stirred debate over its lyrical merits.
Taylor Swift's 11 studio album, "The Tortured Poets Department," has stirred debate over its lyrical merits.

Taylor Swift “The Tortured Poets Department”: A Poetic Analysis

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Taylor Swift’s 11th studio album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” has sparked discussions about its poetic qualities. 

But can song lyrics truly be analyzed as poetry, divorced from their musical context? The Associated Press sought the perspectives of four experts to evaluate Swift’s latest work.

Expert Opinions:

  1. Allison Adair’s Perspective
    • Adair, a professor at Boston College, asserts that Swift’s engagement with poets like Neruda and Dickinson demonstrates her commitment to poetry. She notes that Swift’s B-sides often exhibit a heightened poetic sensibility, akin to renowned poets’ lesser-known works.
  2. Professor Elizabeth Scala’s View
    • Scala, from the University of Texas at Austin, acknowledges the poetical elements in Swift’s songwriting. She highlights Swift’s reference to a time when poetry and song were intertwined, suggesting a revival of this tradition in Swift’s music.
  3. Insight from Michael Chasar
    • Chasar, a professor at Willamette University, emphasizes the unique capabilities of music to complement lyricism. He argues that while songwriters employ poetic devices, they also utilize musical techniques like melisma to convey emotions.
  4. Ada Limón’s Response
    • U.S. poet laureate Ada Limón acknowledges distinctions between poetry and song lyrics but appreciates Swift’s contribution to elevating poetry’s visibility as a genre.

Analyzing Swift’s Work:

  1. Influence of Sylvia Plath
    • Scala identifies influences from confessional poet Sylvia Plath in Swift’s album, particularly in songs like “Mad Woman” and “Tolerate It.”
  2. Exploring “Fortnight”
    • Adair and Chasar dissect the lyrical and thematic complexities of “Fortnight,” noting Swift’s use of rhyme, rhythm, and metaphor to convey emotional depth.
  3. Interpretation of “Cassandra”
    • Swift’s song “Cassandra” draws parallels to Greek mythology, with Scala highlighting its portrayal of truth-telling amidst disbelief.
  4. Analysis of “So Long, London”
    • Adair examines the juxtaposition of musical and lyrical tones in “So Long, London,” noting Swift’s fusion of high-mindedness and everyday experiences, reminiscent of Beat poets’ style.

Jean Martin

Jean Martin, a seasoned Correspondent Author at USA Guardian Magazine, specializes in transforming complex subjects into engaging narratives. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to truth, her work spans politics, culture, and technology, enriching the magazine's diverse content. Jean's reporting not only informs but also inspires readers, showcasing her belief in journalism's power to drive change.

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