These are the musicians who write poetry

Patti Smith / Photos. Getty Images

Nobody learns poems by heart today, but everyone knows the lyrics to his favorite song, says Bob Dylan. According to the artist, modern musicians have assumed the roles previously reserved for poets, becoming the spokesmen for their generations. Here are eight of these creators.

Patti Smith: It’s all poetry

While music was Dylan’s first calling, Patti Smith repeatedly said that she was “a poet who deviated from the path of music.” After moving to New York, the artist began writing poems, which were followed by the accompaniment of a band, and then tried her strength as a songwriter. In the early 1970s, Smith also began performing on stage. Within a few years, she became a new icon of the punk rock revolution. Since then, she has successfully combined roles, her production includes more than 10 music albums, but she has also published several volumes of poetry, short story collections, essays, prose poetry and memoirs of “Poniedzialkowe Dzieci”, mostly dedicated to her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

Nick Kev: Literature as a source of inspiration

I try to read poetry every day for at least half an hour before I start writing my texts Nick says how, for him, as for Smith, music and poetry are inextricably linked. According to the artist, staying in close contact with literature, which he calls the key to imagination, is the duty of everyone who wants to write lyrics. Since the 1980s, Cave has been combining a musical and literary career. He already boasted of the scope of his creative possibilities in his first book “King Ink”, which included previously unpublished lyrics, plays, film scripts and poems. His most recent composition is the poem “The Sick Bag Song”, which is inspired by the works of his idol, writer and poet Stevie Smith.

Florence Welch: A Respite In Writing

She inherited her love of literature from her mother, Evelyn Welch, a Harvard graduate and professor at King’s College London. Writing songs and poems in Florence proved to be dealing with problems – eating disorders, alcoholism and anxiety. Due to dyslexia, the texts were placed in the tray for a long time. Only in 2018 did she realize her big dream and published a book of poetry. The critically acclaimed “Useless Magic” consists of dozens of poems written by the artist over a 20-year period. Last year, Welch also wrote a preface to the collection Love Enough: Poetry Intertwined with Love, which includes poetry by William Blake, Elizabeth Dickinson and Ann Bronte, among others, and illustrations and artwork by Andrea Zanatelli.

Kendrick Lamar: How to beautify reality

Growing up in a gang-divided Compton, the future rapper from childhood dreamed of fulfilling himself through art. Lamar was not interested in violence, did not participate in school games, which over time turned into fierce struggles between life and death. Despite this, he has seen shooting and counting several times. He spoke of the shock she experienced when he saw a man being shot in broad daylight on the Pulitzer Prize-winning album “DAMN.” The album’s second major inspiration was poetry, which Kendrick began to charm in the seventh grade when his English teacher saw his interest in music and literature. At his instigation, Lamar wrote the first piece. From that moment on, he returned to poetry several times, studied his favorite poems, and then transferred his notes to the process of writing music. into something beautiful.”

Kate Bush: Thinking about hair

When Kate Bush’s debut album “The Kick Inside” was released in 1978, one critic summed it up as “weird poetic.” This term can be used to describe the entire work of the artist, which has successfully transformed ratings for more than half a century. Although Bush, like Dylan, has always defined herself as a musician, she drew easily from the worlds of literature, performance, dance, theater, and fashion. She gained her love of poetry from her older brother John. He had to tell her that “poems are shaped like poems.” Despite this, Bosch did not first appear as a poet. However, when reading her book “How to be Invisible”, which consisted of the texts of songs selected and edited by the artist, it is difficult not to have the impression that we made for a book of “strange poetic” poems.

James Blake: Intimate Notes

Unlike Welch or Smith, James Blake has not been interested in poetry for long. From an early age, he discovered the world of music with the help of his father James Leatherland, who is also an artist. Sounds charm him more than words. Even as he got serious about writing scripts, he deliberately avoided drawing inspiration from literature. The turning point was the mini-album “200 Press”, which included the spoken song “Words That We Some Know” – the artist recited a poem composed by him. Then Blake decided to delve into the art of the word, and the results of this search can be heard in the following albums – “Before”, “Covers” and the last “Friends That Break Your Heart”.

Joni Mitchell: Words Lost

Johnny can pull the texts out of the hat – Dylan joked in the documentary “Rolling Thunder Revue” (available on Netflix), when he saw a colleague working on the new material. In 1975, the musician had just started a tour, and he invited artist friends, including Joan Baez, Allen Ginsberg and Joni Mitchell. In turn, she admitted that she admires his freedom to write music. For her, the creative process always began with words followed by sounds. Today, Mitchell’s texts are studied like poetry, and literary experts are constantly re-examining her own freedom to use words. And for those who want to read Mitchell’s wonderful work, we recommend “Morning Glory On The Vine: Earli Songs and Drawings,” a book of poetry with alternate versions of her songs, which she created in 1971 as a Christmas gift for loved ones. .

Tupac Shakur: poetic justice

Tupac Shakur was a multi-talented man who felt comfortable like a rapper as well as a ballerina and poet. Like his works, the theme of his poems was social injustice and the experience of poverty, racism and exclusion as well as love and solidarity. In one he wrote, “Have you heard of the rose that grew / From a crack in concrete? / Proving that the law of nature is wrong / I learned to walk without feet.” Shakur did not live to see his poetry published. The first volume of his poems was not published until 1999, three years after his death. Many of his poems are still awaiting publication.


(Photo by Chloe Lou Driesen)

In the May issue of Vogue Polska, we take a closer look at Bob Dylan’s musical and literary works. You can find the new issue of hair in the press salons and Online.

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