Poetry and Popular Music

If you want to write poetry, you should probably read poetry. That sounds simple enough. Poems aren’t as long as novels (well, most of them), so they won’t take up too much of your time. All you have to do is look around online and you can find classic poets, contemporary poets, bad poets, and all kinds of poems about all manner of subjects. Go to the library and you get the same thing.

I also believe that if you want to write poetry, you need to stop (or at least decrease) your listening to popular music. When I say “popular”, I don’t necessarily mean just Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga and Selena Gomez and those types. I mean Paramore and Evanescence and metal bands and rock bands and country bands and techno and pretty much every genre you can think of except perhaps classical and really obscure indie bands whose musicians happen to write great lyrics.

Why? Because those songs get stuck in your head and interfere with the poetry that’s there. Your poems start to look more like the songs you listen to, and that’s not a good thing if you’re aiming to write good poetry. Songs are poems, but they’re not necessarily good poems. In popular music, there are few deep meanings to be found. The lyrics aren’t all that great.

So if you want to write poetry, read poetry and keep the music out.

5 thoughts on “Poetry and Popular Music

  1. I can evict song lyrics from my head before writing without much effort . . . but I can’t write with lyrics playing in the background. They intrude and crowd out words I’m searching for.

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