A Friend And A Cousin

In Saba’s 2018 album, CARE FOR ME, he tackles headfirst into the isolation and trauma he faced growing up in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago. His poetic style of Chicago hip-hop and rap is highlighted especially in his 2nd to last track PROM / KING. In this song, he speaks vividly about his early memories of his cousin and fellow Pivot Gang member, John Walt, and the lead-up to his fatal stabbing in early 2017. As Perrine states in his definition of poetry, “Poetry, finally, is a multi-dimensional language,” it uses intelligence, senses, emotions, and imagination to communicate experience. Saba not only fulfills these requirements but goes above and beyond in his storytelling in order to provide an even greater understanding of his perspective to the listener. PROM / KING holds the importance of family up on a pedestal. Through his lyrics, he explains how one’s family is always close by to help through hardships, no matter what. Saba, without a doubt, can place his listener in his shoes. He uses relatable imagery and diction in order to display the character of John Walt and the progression of their relationship through the years.

I think about it for a minute, like, “What’s his intentions?”
I mean, we never really got along or used to kick it
In fact, if I remember—vividly—he picked on me
He used to beat me up and take my sneakers every family visit


Saba is so personable in his writing. Like in reality, people constantly interrupt stories with spontaneous thoughts. This verse above is placed as an intrusion to the prior one and acts as a flashback where Saba recalls his past encounters with Walt. These thoughts that enter sporadically in the song foreshadow Saba’s frustration and distress that are revealed later. In the 3rd line, he emphasizes how clearly he remembers his relationship with his cousin–creating even more tension when Saba finally decides to trust his cousin and call his prom date.

Phrasing and syntax are crucial elements throughout the song. With a simple usage of line breaks, commas, and semi-colons, Saba is able to influence his own perspective and compare and contrast it with others.

Me and Cuz stayed down the street, living different lives
Every day, he on the bus; me, I get a ride
I gave him thirty on the porch, he never went inside
He tells me, “Thank you,” then he walk back home with a smile
He tryna hide it, but I see his dimple


In the first three lines of this verse, Saba perfectly captures the past relationship between him and Walt. He starts the line off with “Me and Cuz stayed down the street,” then finishes it with “living different lives.” Despite their close location, they had no insight into what each other’s lives were like, very much demonstrating that alienation people may feel when living in big cities such as Chicago. There is even social class commentary on the line, “he on the bus; me, I get a ride.” Saba creates this visual image of separation as well as literal separation within the lines. Although this past meeting between the two is merely transactional, to end the verse, Saba pushes forth the idea that he and Walt have a solid connection forming, even though he hides it, Saba “sees his dimple”.

PROM / KING is fluid in its execution. What is so unique about Saba’s music is his ability to shift into different movements inside of the song, sort of like a sonata, in classical terms. The structure of the song is developed in a way where there are two parts, Prom and King. Prom, tells the story of how Saba’s cousin, Walt, helps him get a prom date, establishing a strong relationship between the two. The song then transitions into part two, King, where Walt and Saba become extremely close friends and successfully create music together until the shocking details of Walt’s death are revealed. I find this aspect of PROM / KING poetic because it is a technique of storytelling that undoubtedly enlightens and moves the listener. We go into the song not knowing John Walt, to wishing there was a possibility of saving him before his life was taken away. This is poetry. The listener lives through the experience and learns from it thanks to the brilliance of the writer. We learn to never take anything for granted…

I just hope I make it ’til tomorrow


Emotional Motion Sickness

Pheobe Bridgers is an up-and-coming artist who uses storytelling to entrance her listeners into a moment in her life or feeling she has experienced. Her song “Motion Sickness” is the second track on her album “Stranger In The Alps”, which was released September 22nd, 2017. In this song, Pheobe is writing about being on a roller coaster of emotions. She describes a relationship where she has as been built up and broken down thousands of times and says it was like she had motion sickness from all the ups and downs in the relationship. In the song, she illustrates many moments and feelings where she felt as though she was being manipulated and thrown around. 

I hate you for what you did

And I miss you like a little kid

I faked it every time

But that’s alright

I can hardly feel anything

I hardly feel anything at all

Motion Sickness – Pheobe Bridger’s

In the first verse of the song, she starts out strong by using juxtaposition. She claims that she hates this person for everything they have done to her but still misses them. She misses the feelings she had with them and the idea she had of them in her head. Even though someone treats us poorly, we can still miss them and miss having them in our lives. She uses this juxtaposition to show the conflicting feelings one can have after a breakup, and especially after an emotionally abusive one like the one she experienced. 

Im on the outside looking through

You’re throwing rocks around your room

And while you’re bleeding on your back

In the glass

I’ll be glad that I made it out

And sorry that it all went down like it did

Motion Sickness – Pheobe Bridgers

In a later verse, Pheobe described feeling like she is on the outside looking into her own relationship. She describes being able to see her partner self-sabotaging themselves and the relationship when she says “You’re throwing rocks around your room.” This line isn’t supposed to be taken literally but is inferring the kind of damage this person did to themself and others around them through their actions. Although Pheobe recognizes that her partner at the time was purposefully abusing her mentally, and physically, she is still sorry that it all happened. This verse illustrates how once you are out of an abusive relationship, you can fully see everything that should’ve driven you away sooner from the “outside.” 

I have emotional motion sickness

Somebody roll the windows down

There are no words in the English language

I could scream to down you out

Motion Sickness – Pheobe Bridger’s

Finally, in the chorus, we can see the story come full circle when she talks about the emotional motion sickness she had from the relationship. This metaphor is referring to physical motion sickness becoming more emotional and a sort of feeling you experience when someone keeps letting you down and then getting your hopes up again. She even goes further with this metaphor by saying the windows need to be rolled down, as though she is going to throw up from all of the ups and downs. This line is a beautiful representation of how some abusive relationships go and the title of the song being “Motion Sickness”, fully encompasses what Pheobe is trying to describe. Pheobe Bridger’s use of metaphors, juxtaposition, and use of scenarios to illustrate a feeling or occurrence adds to the essence of this song and makes it an experience to listen to.

A Tribe Called Poetry

A Tribe Called Quest is a hip-hop group that formed in Queens in 1985. The fourth song on A Tribe Called Quest’s second studio album, The Low-End Theory, is “Butter“. Butter is a great example of the ability of The Tribe’s wordplay, specifically by one of their four members, Phife Dawg.

In Butter, Phife Dawg immediately brings us back to his alma matter in 1988.

1988 senior year at Garvey High

Where all the guys were corny but the girls were mad fly

Phife then gets into what his life was like for him at his high school.

I was the b-ball playing, fly rhyme saying

Fly girl getting but never was I sweating

In 1988, the year Phife’s taking us back to, Phife is pursuing a professional basketball career but is eventually convinced by the rest of the tribe to rap instead. Phife is a self-proclaimed “fly girl getter” but soon has to choose between girls and music.

‘Cause when it came to honeys I would go on a stroll

Until I met my match—her name was Flo

Phife meets “Flo”, which is a metaphor for him recognizing his rhythm and flow. Flo is his match because Phife realizes that he should be a rapper instead of a basketball player.

Yesterday your eyes were brown but today they are blue

Your whole appearance is a lie and it could never be true

Later in the song, Phife describes that Flo’s appearance is a lie because he finds the rap industry is different than he expected.

In his young rap career, Phife realizes that the music industry is fake and heartless.

If your hair and eyes were real, I wouldn’t have dissed ya

But since it was bought, I had to dismiss ya

Flo is given fake ears and eyes because Phife thinks that the music industry puts material growth first, something Phife doesn’t want.

On the outside “Butter” is a story about a guy getting girls, but on the inside, it is a song about the struggles of a young rapper getting into the music industry.

Is This America?

This Is America- Chldish Gambino

The song “This Is America”, by Childish Gambino (Donald Glover), was released on May fifth, in the year two-thousand and eighteen. The song is in the genre of rap and was written by many other artists of color. The song tackles gun violence, mass shootings, and the systemic racism black people face in America to this day. The artist also uses repetition and rhythm to make this rap into a form of poetry.

Guns in my area (word, my area)

I got the strap (ayy, ayy)

I gotta carry ’em

This is America- Childish Gambino

This quote is addressing the gun violence issue in America. The way that Glover pronounces the words makes it flow that every line has the same amount of syllables and causes a rhythm along with his powerful words. I argue that this song is poetry for the same syllable structure found in many poems. The way he is using poetic devices to communicate that the gun violence issue in America is so prevalent that it is affecting his own neighborhood, let alone himself that he needs a gun to combat the issue.

This is America (skrrt, skrrt, woo)

Don’t catch you slippin’ now (ayy)

Look at how I’m livin’ now

Police be trippin’ now (woo)

Yeah, this is America (woo, ayy)

This Is America- Childish Gambino

This part of the song is a reference to the police brutality against black people and the crimes committed against them. Gambino uses the word now three times to end a line, the poetic element of repetition being used to stress how current this issue is. There are instances of police brutality against black men and women frequently and the problem has not gotten better since this song was released. Gambino used his platform to draw attention to the injustice in the form of art. Although there is music behind this, its poetry due to the metaphors, repetitions, and imagery that each line holds. The performance piece can also help argue that it is poetic. In the music video there are exploding cars, dance moves involving guns to people’s heads, and violent choreography simulating the pain that systemic racism has brought to society.

America, I just checked my following list and

You go tell somebody

You mothaf***** owe me

This Is America- Childish Gambino

This specific part in the song is one of the most powerful, because it’s one of the only parts that genuinely rhyme and isn’t repeating a word. Its also one of the central themes of the song that America needs to treat people of color better and change the oppressive system. This is also one of the few lines that has an entirely different line structure separating it from the rest, making it stand out more.

Donald Glover uses repetition, metaphors, and changes how words sound to make a song that is also poetry. He uses these poetic devices to communicate the prominent injustices placed onto black people in America, and uses his widely known platform to do so.

Don’t Rush To Judgement

“The Spirit of Radio” is a song by a band called Rush, and was released in 1980 on the album entitled Permanent Waves. The song’s lyrics were written by Neil Peart, the band’s drummer.

The lyrics of the song convey the idea that the music-making and listening is magical and sacred, but that its meaning and truth is diminished by the fact that money has become the driving force of all music production. What makes the song truly complex, though, is that the innovations in machinery that caused music-making to appear more artificial actually allowed music to reach and touch more listeners than ever before. The song uses both poetic and linguistic techniques in order to accomplish this effect.

In the first verse of the song, we arrive at the first example of multi-dimensional language within “The Spirit of Radio.”

Begin the day with a friendly voice

A companion unobtrusive

Plays that song that’s so elusive

And the magic music makes your morning mood

This language, according to Perrine’s Sound and Sense, is that special kind of language which we use to communicate experience. In Perrine’s own words, “It must not only involve your intelligence, but also your senses, emotions, and imagination.” The first line evokes both the senses of the early morning, as well as the emotions that accompany emerging from sleep to face the day. In addition, the first line concludes with a metaphor, which compares the singing coming from a radio to the voice of a friend. This metaphor augments the idea that music is magical (without saying it explicitly), because it can lift the spirits of the waking worker through the turn of a knob. These layers of meaning make the language more powerful, and, more importantly, make it poetic. The second line continues the metaphor, and continues to develop the idea that music is magical to both the listener and the creator by comparing music to a “companion” to spend time with.

In the chorus of the song, the lyrics explore the magic of the radio, and the music that it broadcasts, with more poetic language.

Invisible airwaves crackle with life

Bright antennae bristle with the energy

Emotional feedback on a timeless wavelength

Bearing a gift beyond price, almost free

In the first line, the airwaves of the radio that bring music to a car or a household are made synonymous with life. Rather than just describing the crackling airwaves, as it were, the lyrics add the word “life,” which adds to the idea that music is sacred and life-giving. What is important to note here is that the technological power of the radio is what allows the music to reach the listener, and therefore is part of the magic of music-making.

However, lingering in the backdrop of this magic is the concern that the machinery involved in the making of music has made the process mechanical, and therefore, not truthful. This idea is presented in the third verse.

All this machinery making modern music

Can still be open-hearted

Not so coldly charted, it’s really just a question

Of your honesty, yeah, your honesty

One likes to believe in the freedom of music

But glittering prizes and endless compromises

Shatter the illusion of integrity, yeah

An interesting technique employed in this verse is the rhyming of “open-hearted” and “coldly charted.” These two phrases are the pole opposite of each other, but within the sound of the song, they are similar. The significance of this added wrinkle, perhaps, is that the honest musician can make even the most restricting chart (sheet music) sound meaningful and truthful. However, the “glittering prizes and endless compromises” that are a part of the studio musician’s everyday life mean that money is constantly driving the production of music, more than any truthful drive to create within the musicians themselves. A result of this is that most musicians struggle to call their music authentic, because the push to gain profit, whether it originates subconsciously or from agents and managers, is stronger than the push to create truthful music.

Musicians must work hard to remain honest in their work. It is no secret that money dominates the industry as much, if not more, in 2021 than it did in 1980. It is up to those who understand the magic of music-making to keep their hearts open and focus on the magic instead.

Can’t Stop The Poetry

Justin Timberlake is a 40-year-old pop/disco song producer has sold over 88 million records worldwide. One specific song Justin created, was for the movie ‘Trolls’, named “Can’t Stop The Feeling!” This song was created solely for the idea that people were going to dance to it, which is clearly shown in the lyrics and diction he uses. Starting with the title, Justin gives the listener a sense of excitement and anticipation for an uplifting song with that “feeling” that you can’t stop, that everyone has experienced before or can understand what he is talking about. The title itself even has an exclamation point at the end. I’m not sure what else could explain a more excited and dancing feeling than that.

The first few lines of the song resemble a poem in several ways already. In lines 2 and 3 of the song he says:

I got this feelin’ inside my bones

It goes electric, wavy when I turn it on

Justin Timberlake’s use of the word “wavy” to describe this feeling is extremely specific and fits right in with the wave of emotions this feeling is giving you. He uses the idea of having the “feelin inside my bones,” which we know isn’t actually inside his body, but how the feeling is so strong. He also uses “electric” as an adjective to describe this feeling, which we can infer means it is in a way loud and expresses a powerful emotion.

The next few lines, incorporate more important and detailed diction which gives us an even closer idea of this feeling he explains. Lines 6 and 7 say:

I got that sunshine in my pocket
Got that good soul in my feet

Now Justin attributes sunshine to the feeling and the idea of it being “in my pocket,” meaning the feeling is with him. Sunshine is usually used to mean happiness or light, which is exactly what I think he is trying to describe in this “feeling.” Again he describes the “good soul” in this feet, which we know isn’t literally in his feet but shows us how the rush of emotions is rushing from his bones down to his feet.

Finally, Justin uses lots of repetition in his song, whether it’s repeating lines such as “just dance, dance, dance” or repeating entire stanzas, he does this in order to really get the idea of a happy and uplifting song and feeling into everyone’s minds while listening to his song.

Letting Go and Letting Be

While not a part of the Beatles’ most influential albums, “Let It Be” is one of their most powerful songs. Released in 1970 as part of the album Let It Be, it is a true example of poetry. It exemplifies that despite the randomness and horrors of life, the world will keep going. Instead of dwelling on everything, people should keep going and the life will work itself out.

For though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they will see

There will be an answer, let it be

Paul McCartney, the writer of the lyrics for this particular track, uses multiple definitions of “parted” to enhance the meaning. In both instances it means split, but it can mean both split internally and split between groups of people. This double meaning enhances the significance of the line, and conveys both meanings at once. It also accentuates the imagery of the song, because it shows the listener groups of people fighting against each other and with themselves. These complexities qualify it as poetry, according to Laurence Perrine. It brings the reader into the experience.

And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light that shines on me

McCartney, in using light as a symbol, complicates the meaning and turns this track into poetry. Light, especially light coming from the sky, is typically used in literature to represent wisdom or the divine. Clouds and darkness, on the other hand, are ominous and foreboding. In “Let It Be”, these symbols convey relaxing and letting go as a way out of darkness. This use of figurative language turns a regular song into poetry, as it takes a simple idea and deepens it. In other words, according to Perrine, poetry “increas[es] the range of our experience and [is] a glass for clarifying it” (What Is Poetry, 3), and this line satisfies.

When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me

Speaking words of wisdom, “Let it be”

This line from “Let It Be” shows the human experience, thus poeticizing it. It shows that during struggles, people lean on others and their wisdom to help walk them through. It also draws on our memories of others: when McCartney writes “comes to me”, he implies that his mother appears in the form of a memory. This section of the song follows the broadening our experiences poetic requirement outlined by Perrine, in that it illustrates something that everybody has experienced — recalling old wisdom.

“Let It Be” is a prime example of poetry in the music world, and it brings together a lesson for everyone on how to go through life, human experiences, and the acknowledgement that despite the world being messed up, Earth will keep turning and we can move on.

Nothing New: Taylor Swift’s Coming-of-Age Poetic Reflection

Taylor Swift is known for her love songs that have been sung by millions across the world. She is a small turn girl turned into global superstar. Despite her fame, what I most love about Taylor Swift is her lyrical mastery and duality to capture specific human emotions that are relatable for all but hard to compare in simple words. Specifically striking about her artistry is her new album: Red (Taylor’s Version). The re-recording of her fourth album ever released showed her ability to redefine her artistry from her perspective in life now that has grown up more

Nothing New is especially powerful to me through her lyrical choices which express romantic anxieties while uncovering some of the industries treatment of female artists. This song shows a more vulnerable side of Taylor Swift and the reality of her growing up in the public eye, and the pressure on female artists to stay relevant as they age. One line that expresses this sentiment is, “will you still want me when I’m nothing new?” Further, this song uncovers the growing pains of adulthood, and not knowing all the answers.

The first verse goes:

They tell you while you're young
"Girls, go out and have your fun"
Then they hunt and slay the ones who actually do it
Criticize the way you fly
When you're soaring through the sky
Shoot you down and then they sigh
And say, "She looks like she's been through it"
Lord, what will become of me
Once I've lost my novelty?

The first verse goes to explain the struggle of growing up in the public eye, especially as a somewhat modest artists who was known for being a “good girl.” She was told to go out and have fun while she was young, but also criticize young celebrities for partying. They also take down young celebrities when they are successful and try to diminish their accomplishments.

I've had (I've had) too much to drink tonight
But I wonder if they'll miss me once they drive me out
I wake up (wake up) in the middle of the night
And I can feel time moving
How can a person know everything at 18 but nothing at 22?

These lyrics in the Chorus explain the anxieties of aging artists and the changes one faces as the emerge from a teenager at 18 to a 22 year-old out adult in the world after a break-up. To be alone is a scary reality when you think you have everything planned out at a young age and have been forced to grow up quickly because of the industry you work in.

Critics have commented upon Nothing New and touched upon the music industries obsession with young women and their love an ingenuine. This creates a hard-reality for aging artists and fetizishes young females instead of valuing them on their music and talent.

“Haunted” by Poetic Lyricist, Taylor Swift

Music and poetry are one and the same. They both possess intense emotions and allow the reader/listener to gain perspective on an experience whether they have directly experienced it or not. No one knows this better than Taylor Swift. The twelfth track on her third, and only completely self-written, studio album, “Haunted” encompasses a full range of heartbreak and yearning for a person who has left without warning or explanation.

You and I walk a fragile line
I have known it all this time
But I never thought I’d live to see it break.

Swift begins her song with these three lines, where she articulates that this woman’s relationship with this person has been on the verge of ending for quite a long time, however, she was in denial of it ever actually happening. She truly believed she would outlive the end of the relationship, although the outcome was inevitable.

And it’s coming over you like it’s all a big mistake

Oh, I’m holding my breath

Won’t lose you again

At this point in the song, the woman thinks that the man understands that he has made a mistake, and she is reluctant to do anything, (even breathe), lest she risk him leaving again, and it being her fault, even though he is already gone. Here, the listener can feel the pain, anxiety, and blame that the woman is afflicted by, believing that it is her fault he left even though no one actually knows why he left her, or why the relationship ended.

Come on, come on, don’t leave me like this

Here, Swift adds another reference to the 7 stages of grief, this time bargaining. This woman is essentially begging the man to remain in the relationship with her, despite him already being gone.

Can’t breathe whenever you’re gone

Can’t turn back now, I’m haunted

Here the reader can see that the woman has been emotionally dependent on him. As the theme of breathing returns, she panics without him, unable to do something as simple as taking a deep breath to calm herself in the face of turmoil. She is unable to take control. The fact that she feels “haunted” alludes to the ghosts of their past relationship and the grief she feels as the result of its death. She is always reminded of it, unable to let go of the intense feelings of loss and betrayal she has experienced.

He will try to take away my pain

And he just might make me smile

But the whole time I’m wishing he was you instead

She has made an honest attempt to get over this past relationship, filling the void in her heart with a new man, but she is unsuccessful, most likely due to the emotional baggage brought on by the unexpected end to their relationship and the lack of closure she received as a direct result. This past relationship is now impacting her current relationships, although he is still gone, and will not be returning, no matter how badly she wants him to.

Towards the end of the song, she states,

Won’t finish what you started

I believe this could be alluding to the fact that she is unwilling to finish a variety of things, including the breakup, the relationship, and possibly the version of herself that she was with him. We, as listeners, are able to view the full spectrum of her pain and lack of acceptance throughout the song.

You and I walk a fragile line

I have known it all this time. Never ever thought I’d see it break

Never thought I’d see it

These final lines directly relate back to the first few lines of the song but offer a new perspective. This woman is finally giving up on getting back in the previous relationship. She is at a complete loss for words and the damage and hurt that has been inflicted upon her is irreversible.

Not Not a Poetic Song

The song “Not” by the band Big Thief appears on their fourth studio album, Two Hands. The Brooklyn based quartet has a wide arsenal of Indie Rock songs, but “Not” plays with the rules of song making and thus takes on a unique, poetic form.

It’s not the energy reeling
Nor the lines in your face
Nor the clouds on the ceiling
Nor the clouds in space

The song uses the repetition of the word “Not” or nor to describe the indescribable. For me the song encapsulates the aspects of life that cannot be put into simple words, the closest one can come to explaining it is to say what it is not. What I mean by “it” is the feelings and emotions essential to the human experience. For me the song begins to grasp at what it feels like to be alive. My favorite aspect of the song is that rather than try to explain a complex subject like how to feels to be a human, Big Thief describes the describable, more simple aspects of life to draw contrast between knowable, and the inexplicable larger feelings.

Nor the boy I’m seeing

With her long black hair

These two lines blur the gender, and thus humans seamlessly. It is another instance in which the song leaves things unexplained to its audience. Rather than explicitly state who the song is talking about, a negative space is left, switching genders one line to the next has the same effect as saying not before every statement. It explicitly states the simple, but leaves the complex deliberately left unsaid. It also emphasizes the mutual human experience over the individual.

Not the meat of your thigh

Nor your spine tattoo
Nor your shimmery e

The imagery of human flesh in these lines reminds the audience of the subject of the song, humans, yet also reiterates that appearance is not what is important. Saying not before a line of dazzling imagery forces the reader to picture what they have just read, but also disregard it as unimportant. In this way, this imagery works at multiple levels to both communicate the humanity, and also disregard the physical world to better encapsulate the emotional one.

It’s not the room
Not beginning
Not the crowd
Not winning
Not the planet
Not spinning
Not a ruse
Not heat
Not the fire lapping up the creek
Not food
Not to eat
Not to die
Not dying
Not to laugh
Not lying

Apologies for the obnoxiously long quote, but here is the chorus of the song “Not.” I believe the song works to emphasize what being human feels like by describing all it does not. The use of a word, and then in the next line explaining the action of said word does multiple things. First it continues the themes of the human experience, by explain the most essential parts to life, like eating, laughter, dying. But in doing so, the song also shows that there is more to being a human, more that is inexplicable. We as the reader know there are larger emotional attached to be a human, because the ones in the chorus, while important are explainable and thus unable to truly describe what it is like to be alive. The chorus reminds the reader of shared humanity, while simultaneously proving that life is indescribable.

Music is poetry.

Song: “Swim (Reprise)” by Valley

In 3 minutes and 53 seconds, Valley’s music has been able to repeatedly strip me from the world I live in, transform the present, broaden my understanding of life, and return me right back to my mom’s car where I often find myself listening to it.

If that isn’t poetry, I don’t know what is.

The melody itself and the way the sound travels through me every time I listen to it could be enough proof that this is poetry in itself. Give it a listen (seriously). But, there’s more. “Swim” is a journey. It’s an experience. And the more I listen to its story, the more I can feel it.

This song, although referencing a friend, is not necessarily about anyone specific. However, it is about a specific experience we all inevitably encounter in our lives. We all have people in our lives that we love. For whatever reason we are bound to them; yet, oftentimes we must watch them fail. We must watch them struggle, but there should be no doubt that the loyalty and love we hold will remain eternal. This song is emphasizing the strength and the hope that committing to a person can give both people involved.

The song opens up by not only highlighting the current conflict with the friend but also the fact that both people are deeply affected by it. By including the metaphor “I’m a drug test and you’re still failing me / All you do is take, take and take,” Valley allows for the listeners to begin to be able to feel what it’s like to be in a situation like this.

Furthermore, by including the “Swim deep, you gotta make it better,” Valley is using imagery to represent the severity of the situation. It’s not easy, but the only way out is through… and the deeper we go, the closer we’ll be.

Lastly, what gives me hope every time I listen to it is the repeated “I’ll be waiting on you forever.” It is not only the repetition of the line that resonates with me, but it’s the inclusion of the pronoun “I” that drags me into the story. By including me, I, as a listener, begin to experience the story itself. And the more I am involved in this story, the more hope I get. It reminds me to never give up. I can wait forever, and I will wait forever.

How does Lil Wayne Measure Up?

Lil Wayne’s song “6 Foot 7 Foot. ” on his album Tha Carter IV is a true piece of poetry, where he asserts and re-establishes himself as an intelligent, honest, hardworking and an overall superior man compared to other rappers. While Wayne was in prison serving an eight month sentence, he was disrespected and looked down upon by the rap community, but this song helped him reinstate himself as one of the leading rappers of this generation through his use of puns and contrasting personality traits in metaphors.

Mind so sharp I fuck around and cut my head off.

Wayne first asserts himself as smart and witty through this pun. Saying he is “so sharp” is a common figure of speech people use to describe themselves as intelligent and quick-thinking. Saying he is so sharp he will “cut his head off” is a clever way of saying he is very smart, especially compared to others. This use of language fits with Laurence Perrine’s interpretation of poetry, as it appeals to the reader’s sense of intelligence and understanding the pun, but also imagination as they imagine the scene of Wayne being so intelligent he actually loses his head. This fits in with his claim that he is smarter and overall superior to other rappers, because through this metaphor he not only states that he is intelligent, he also uses language to display that he is clever, enforcing his assertion on his intelligence and proving he is smart.

I speak the truth, but I guess that’s a foreign language to y’all.

Wayne continues to enforce his claim of superiority through his honesty, and he does this by contrasting his personality traits to those of other rappers in a metaphor. By saying, “I speak the truth”, he means that he is honest, which is an important personality trait for someone like him to have, as some people may believe he is dishonest because of his wild life stories or exorbitant claims he makes about his fame or wealth. Then he says that speaking the truth is “a foreign language to y’all”, meaning that many other rappers are liars and make faulty claims about themselves. By comparing himself, he asserts himself as truthful compared to many other rappers who are dishonest, and this builds his persona as superior to other rappers. This applies to Perrine’s definition of poetry as Wayne “provides a series of concrete, homely details that suggest these qualities”, which he does by giving details stating that he speaks the truth but other rappers are liars,  proving that he is superior to them. 

Bitch, real Gs move in silence like lasagna.

Wayne uses another pun to further prove his hardworking nature and superiority. In the rap community people often refer to themselves as a “G”, and it stands for gangster. In this line Wayne refers to himself as a G saying that he moves in silence, similar to how the G in lasagna is silent, but says other rappers don’t because they are not real gangsters. Furthermore, saying he moves in silence means he doesn’t brag about his work and is truly devoted to his craft, and doesn’t care if people know about the effort he is putting in. This proves his hardworking nature because he is more focused on actually working and making good music, rather than trying to appear to the public in one way or another, as other rappers might. By doing this, he claims he is more devoted to making music and more hardworking than other rappers, and proves his overall claim that he is superior to them. His writing also applies to Perrine’s claim about multi-dimensional language, as it has deeper meaning than the line conveys on the surface.

Overall, Wayne proves he is intelligent through his use of puns, honest by contrasting other rappers to him in a metaphor, and hardworking through a pun about how he handles his work. By doing this, he proves he is superior on a greater level compared to other rappers, and this solidified himself back atop the rap community.

The Root of All Evil

p r i d e. i s . t h e . d e v i l” is a well written, layered song by J. Cole from his album, The Off-Season. While it can be perceived as an elegant piece of poetry, its low key, melodic nature allows it to be widely enjoyed by listeners with varying tastes in music. J. Cole delivers his message of what he believes is to blame for a lot of the bad things that happen to people: pride. He enhances the impact of the message with layered personification, a double entendre, and use of realistic examples throughout the song.

During the post-chorus, J. Cole personifies pride by saying,

Terrified, paranoid, I’ll put you over everything

to fill the void And when you’re gone, will I have

anything or will I be destroyed?

He calls pride ‘you’, and explains how in bad times, he is fulfilled by his pride and self-achievement. He also signifies its importance by suggesting he could be ‘destroyed’ without it. By personifying it, J. Cole allows for a better understanding of how people value pride by relating it to a person that he is conversing with. If the audience perceives this situation as conflict between two people, it lets them relate to it better and more easily, which enhances the song’s meaning to them.

At the end of the first verse, J. Cole employs a double entendre when he says,

Slowly realizing what the root of all my problems be

It got me feeling different when somebody say they proud of me

He gives the word ‘proud’ a double meaning, as it can be perceived as positive or negative. What initially springs to mind is the more common, positive way that people think of the word, the feeling that usually comes after something good has happened. However, he also links in his negative perception of pride by referring to it as the root of all of his problems. He voices his own reaction to this by saying it makes him think twice when people say they are proud of him, because while it initially seems positive for someone to be happy about something he has done, he believes that the sentiment behind pride is negative and generally causes problems. The multi-functional nature of the word makes the audience deeply consider his claim about pride, since it makes them think about the line more than they usually would. This improves the overall impact of the song to the audience.

The use of examples during the song are very important to communicating the central idea. J. Cole spreads them around the song, but many are loaded into the first verse. He says,

Make you have to use your last resort and pull a robbery

Pride be the reason for the family dichotomy

Got uncles and aunties that’s too proud to give apologies

A variety of examples are given, ranging from issues that he has witnessed first-hand in his hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina, to problems specific to his life. In the first line of the quote, he explains how in situations such as poverty, where people often need to ask for help, pride can block that pathway for people and lead them to committing crimes such as robbery. He then switches to personal examples that explain how some of his family members have pride, which prevents them from resolving issues with other family members. These examples are common situations that many people have experienced, so the use of this technique enhances the meaning of the song by pushing the audience to think about similar things that have happened in their life, and how pride could have been involved in them.

This song is multidimensional in the way it attempts to pitch the theme that pride is the root of problems. The personification, double entendre, and realistic examples, provide the literary sophistication that J. Cole is renowned for, while truly amplifying the meaning of the song. This, along with the complexity of the lyrics and story telling, are reason enough for me to stand by this song as worthy of being poetry.

The Best of Ye West

Personally, I am very fond of Ye West’s “Gold Digger” from his album Late Registration. This song gives me nostalgia and reminds me of my childhood since this song was released in 2005. Even afterwards though, it would go on to be a classic by earning a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance in 2006. It was also ranked number 9 for the Billboard Hot 100 Songs of the Decade and ranked number 63 on Billboard’s Top 100 Songs of All Time, making it one of the most popular songs of West’s career. It’s an upbeat song that was very popular at parties in the early 2000s and it in itself is legendary. This song is the pinnacle of Ye West’s reign in the first decade of the 2000s and still to this day.

The song talks about a woman who is a gold digger and uses the speaker to get her way to his riches. West makes the statement that money and fame attracts materialistic women primarily concerned with their own benefit. I believe the speaker of the song is West himself because he talks about his desires and how the gold digger compares. He talks about the gold digger as if he’s met her and interacted with her.

Cutie the bomb, met her at a beauty salon

With a baby Louis Vuitton under her underarm

She said: “I can tell you rock, I can tell by your charm

Far as girls, you got a flock

I can tell by your charm and your arm”

But I’m lookin’ for the one, have you seen her?

My psychic told me she’ll have a a** like Serena

Trina, Jennifer Lopez, four kids

And I gotta take all they bad a**** to ShowBiz?

Additionally, West references other music artists:

From what I heard she got a baby by Busta

My best friend said she used to f*** with Usher

This leads me to believe that he’s addressing other famous people to watch out for the gold digger. He uses the word “we” in order to talk about himself and other famous people as a collective to state that they should protect themselves against the gold digger.

If you ain’t no punk

Holla, “We want prenup! We want prenup!” (Yeah!)

It’s somethin’ that you need to have

‘Cause when she leave yo’ a**, she gon’ leave with half

The dialogue West uses in the song establishes two sides, the celebrities, and the gold digger who is trying to take advantage of them and their means. Something notable West did in this song was that he used a sample from Ray Charles’ song, “I’ve Got a Woman” from his album Hallelujah, I Lover Her. In Ray Charles’ song, he’s talking about a woman who treats him well and gives him money when he’s in need. West used a sample of Charles’ song to convey the opposite situation by changing the line “She gives me money when I’m in need” to “She take my money when I’m in need”. I think West used this as a way of symbolizing how unfortunate it is that the woman wants to take from him instead of help and be good to him like the woman Charles’ describes in his song. This part is found at the beginning of the song.

She take my money when I’m in need

Yeah, she’s a triflin’ friend indeed

Oh, she’s a gold digger

Way over town that digs on me

Ye West’s song “Gold Digger” is poetry to me because he provides an experience of being famous and wealthy and having to face the reality that some women only want him for what he has. He conveys the struggle of having status and attempting to find a woman who is interested in him, not his possessions.

Don’t You L-O-V-E Poetry?

The song “L-O-V-E” sung by Nat “King” Cole was written by Burt Kaempfert and Milt Gabler. It was the first song released on Cole’s 1965 studio album also named “L-O-V-E”. Over the past 50 years, this song has been rerecorded by hundreds of different artists, appeared in many film soundtracks (including Parent Trap) and sung in multiple different languages. And it remains on millions of people’s playlists to this day.

Perrine emphasizes the distinction between poetry and imaginative literature does not just relate to how lines are arranged and how words connect through rhymes. The real difference between poetry and any other piece of literature is that in poetry, each line is of greater value and powerful language. When reading poetry a reader should feel the power of the complex language and reflect it on one’s own senses, emotions, and imagination. “L-O-V-E” does not have a complex structure or even a mysterious analysis, that does not mean it is not a great piece of poetry. This song does not just show great emotion but makes the listener feel them as well as imagine themselves feeling these ways in real-life situations.

L is for the way you look at me
O is for the only one I see
V is very, very extraordinary
E is even more than anyone that you adore can

As seen above, this song not only describes the feelings of love, but gives the reader a step to step guide on how to love. This song shows how love between two individuals is very passionate but fragile. Each line gives an important idea to what the whole song is about, and gives love an even more complex definition. The line “Take my heart but please don’t break it” can identify as a metaphor, the breaking of a heart is meant to be on a emotional level so the reader can understand and relate to it. Not only is the language used powerful, it includes rhyming words and is a acrostic poem. This is a timeless piece song or poem, it is diverse and anyone of any age can listen and enjoy it.

The Power of Music

Sara Walsh

Music and poetry have a lot of similarities. They both can contain rhymes, rhythm, repetition and tells a story. Music, like poetry brings people together and the sounds, rhythms and words of music brings people together. The song “Say Something” by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera is musical poetry as it contains repetition, rhymes, and a message. The general rhyme scheme of the poem is AAAA BBBB CC. This song can be interpreted in many different ways, but it gets very deep into a relationship and I think it’s about analyzing whether or not someone should seperate from there relationship becuase they feel worried and feel unloved in this relationship. The song can be interpreted in another way though, and at one point in the music video, After wacthing the music video to this song, there is a section where an old man says goodbye to his wife who is lying on a hospital bed, which conveys a whole different interpretation of the song that people seperate in relationships through death as well.

Regardless of how one interprets this song, it can make readers reflect on their own relationships, and seperating from someone or losing someone is one of the hardest things people can go through. When the singers sing “I’ll be the one” it shows that this person clearly had a strong attachment to the other person, and is going through an extremely difficult time reflecting on this person.

Music, like poetry is up to interpretation, which is what makes it so powerful. This song is very powerful because it teaches a lesson that everyone will go through losses and seperations in their lives, which is inevitable. Music and poetry can be a great escape and also allows one to reflect on their own lives.

Say Something (I'm Giving Up On You) - YouTube

Please Keep Your Shoes Out of Our Hearts-Mitski and Me

In “Washing Machine Heart” by Mitski, a part of her album Be the Cowboy that got the title from an inside joke with herself to be the “cowboy” or just a person in power who has the right to do whatever they want, she poetically strings her words to articulate her feelings. In her case, she does this by writing her music the way and about what she wants. Throughout her album, Mitski develops her raw cut lyrics about grappling being lonely and trying to understand adult love with her want of control in herself. She uses hyperbole and physical imagery to develop her loneliness in only being used by lovers briefly and how it can break her down. 

Toss your dirty shoes in my washing machine heart

Baby, bang it up inside

A lover is not literally tossing dirty shoes in a heart that is in this case a washing machine. Instead, Mitski is making listeners imagine how carelessly people will step all over your heart, and as a washing machine, this can happen again and again. The assonance present in the “Ba” on the second line stresses the consequences of the messiness in these relationships. The contrast of banging being dominating but reckless and the soft tenderness of a heart with the term baby conveys the deeper sensitivity in Mitski that is almost out of her control. She wants to portray herself as strong but in reality, the actions of those around her or lack of them can break down the version of herself she wants people to see. Universally, these lines purposefully are poignant to the everyday person who can feel used by those around them while feeling vulnerable for letting them inside. Plus, how trying to have a relationship with other people romantically can be messy like “dirty shoes” when we are trying to have a clean and pure love like what a “washing machine” does. 

Another important element of how the song is poetic is Mitski’s stream of consciousness in her lyrics. 

I’m not wearing my usual lipstick

I thought maybe we would kiss tonight

Do me ti

Why not me?

Why not me?

The rawness of her admitting in her thoughts and lyrics that she desires love and is trying to attract it by simply wearing a different lipstick illustrates how she is struggling with finding the company she wants. The chorus repeating the questions coming from her emotions flow into how people can feel that they are not wanted or not enough. The upbeat tempo contrasts with her deep lyrics that make all of society relate to feelings of not being appreciated for who you are and how people can use us. 

King and Queen of the Pelicans We

No other bird so grand we see.

Pelicans We (Cosmo Shelldrake, Pelicans We) is admittedly kind of cheating since it was adapted from a poem itself, The Pelican Chorus, written by Edward Lear back in the mid 1800s. Lear is most well known for writing The Book of Nonsense, a book of silly poems often making little sense. As such, to defend this song as poetry, I only must defend poetry as poetry.

The Pelican Chorus chronicles two pelicans, the king and queen of the pelicans, as it would happen. they detail why they believe themselves and their people(birds?) are the grandest of all their feathered kin. for none but they have feet like fins, and lovely, leathery throats and chins. the poem goes on to introduce their daughter, and in her honor, a feast they made with all of the birds that can swim or wade. the pelican princess falls in love with the crane king after he offers her a crocodile egg and a large fish tart, a well known strategy among humans to acquire mates. a grand wedding is held and the two fly off happily. however, almost all of the poem is cut from the song, which only contains the first two stanzas of the 6 in the poem.

The Pelican Chorus follows an AA BB rhyme scheme, as does pelicans we. however, a poem is usually defined not so much by its literal characteristics but by its emotional characteristics, what it makes you feel rather than what is written down. under the literal definition of a poem, nearly any song fits the bill, being defined by google as “a piece of writing that partakes of the nature of both speech and song that is nearly always rhythmical, usually metaphorical, and often exhibits such formal elements as meter, rhyme, and stanzaic structure.” under this definition, all songs are poetry.

The song’s language is fantastic. find me another song that just makes up words because they’re fun to say. i especially love this because that’s the chorus. Ploffskin, Pluffskin, pelican jee! this helps enforce the vibe of the song. it specifically serves as an affront to those searching for deeper meaning, but more importantly, is fun to say. this occurs multiple times throughout the song. for example, at one point, it describes the pelicans “stamping their feet with a flompy sound”. what does that mean? hell if i know, but that’s what’s so great about it. it allows the listener to envision any sound they think flompy might mean. it also uses “the ivory ibis starlike skim” to describe nighttime. now, i have no idea what that means, but it’s nonsense verse. it’s not supposed to mean anything, its supposed to be fun to read, say, and listen to, and it succeeds in that.

Pelicans We is one of my favorite songs because of how silly it is. In our modern social climate, stress is a near constant, and Pelicans We is notably devoid of this aspect. no matter how hard you look, the only meaning you can reasonably draw is of the pelicans’ self assured attitude, and how lovely and leathery their chins are. the song is an incredible piece of media because it offers its audience to truly relax and, just for a few minutes, wing to wing, dance around, stamping their feet with a flampy sound, open their mouths as pelicans ought, and hear the song that they nightly snort.

Kinng and Queen of the Pelicans we!
No other Birds so grand we see!
None but we have feet like fins!
With lovely leathery throats and chins!

Ploffskin, Pluffskin, Pelican jee!
We think no Birds so happy as we!
Plumpskin, Ploshkin, Pelican jill!
We think so then, and we thought so still!

There is a crazy fan in all of us

Stan by Eminem (Ft. Dido)

Marshal Mathers also known as Eminem is known as one of the most controversial artists in Hip/Hop. He is known for talking about topics such as murder, domestic violence, and suicide. Topics such as these are considered taboo amongst mass media, but the “Marshal Mathers Lp” being the highest-selling Hip/Hop album of all time, shows that Eminem is capable of breaking traditional cancel culture, unlike any other artist.

In particular, “Stan” is one of Eminem’s greatest pieces of work, and in some views, it is considered one of the greatest rap songs of all time. His ability to tell a story all at the pace of a beat is sometimes incomprehensible to the common listener. Eminem in particular is known for his advanced rhyme schemes and meticulous play on words, this song, in particular, isn’t about a masterful rhyme scheme though. Instead, it takes a slower pace and just tells a story.

Stan is a reference to a fan who is obsessed with a famous person. They devote their lives to these artists by acting like them and acquiring features that are similar to the artist. In this song, the main character is named Stan. Stan does everything that a “Stan” would do. The song is narrated as a reading of the Letters that Stan has written for eminem. Each letter becomes more and more passionate as Eminem doesn’t respond. These letters are told in form of a verse and each verse represents one letter written. These verses are broken up by a chorus that goes:

“My tea’s gone cold I’m wondering why I
Got out of bed at all
The morning rain clouds up my window
And I can’t see at all
And even if I could it’ll all be gray
Put your picture on my wall
It reminds me, that it’s not so bad
It’s not so bad”

The thing that is so impressive about this song is its ability to not feel like poetry. Each line is jam-packed with hidden material and a rhyme scheme but it just feels like you listening to someone read a handwritten letter out loud. It’s not until you think about it deeper than the first listen, that you understand how difficult that is to achieve but also how poetic this song truly is.

The letters end in Stan killing himself along with his pregnant wife. It’s very grim and has a lot of shock value to the listener. But it’s Eminem so what did you expect. Eminem writes Stan back, but it is too late and he exclaims his discomfort towards Stan’s obsession as a whole. Eminem wrote this song as a dramatic way to tell his fans that his music is never that serious. Nothing he says or does should be taken so seriously as to end up like Stan. Even if you support or are against Eminem’s music, you should never care about it enough to where you act out on a dangerous scale. Even though Stan is an extreme representation of what this looks like. Eminem feels that some people arent to far from what his song “Stan” talks about

Swimming Pools of Poetry

The song “Swimming Pools (Drank)” by Kendrick Lamar in his album good kid, m.A.A.d city is arguably one of the most poetic songs of our generation of rap. Coming from an artist who is often looked at as the king of lyrics in the rap game, Kendrick Lamar fills all of his songs with a wide variety of poetic and multidimensional language.

Without even diving into the lyrics of the song the title itself has a deeper meaning. The title “Swimming Pools” is a metaphor for alcoholism and the consequences that come with consuming a lot of alcohol. Throughout the song, Kendrick Lamar vividly addresses a lot of the physical and mental pressure that drives people to drink.

First, the song starts with:

Now I done grew up ’round some people livin’ their life in bottles/
Granddaddy had the golden flask/
Backstroke every day in Chicago/

This first line can help us understand the overall theme of the poem. The speaker is reminiscing about his early years as a kid witnessing a house that was filled with adults and alcohol. Quickly after we learn this, Kendrick gives us a metaphor using the phrase “backstroke”. This is playing on the word swimming pool. It is him drowning in a pool of liquor in Chicago.

Throughout the song Kedrick is able to make the listener feel like they are living in the world of the story, the best instance of that is in this line:

Lookin’ to make a vow soon/ That I’ma get f*cked up, fillin’ up my cup/  I see the crowd mood changin’ by the minute

Kendrick uses imagery to perfection in this line. In this Kendrick has made the vow or decided to get drunk. It’s an interesting play on words because people usually make vows when they have something difficult and positive to accomplish, for example, wedding vows. But in this instance, it is quite the opposite where he makes the vow of something like getting drunk. After he makes this vow to get drunk he takes us through the experience through with imagery. He talks about seeing the crowd’s mood change by the minute because they’re getting more and more intoxicated.

Along with the way he is able to paint pictures to his listeners, Kedrick also uses exaggeration as a rhetorical device perfectly through hyperboles In his chorus:

I’ma show you how to turn it up a notch/
First you get a swimming pool full of liquor, then you dive in it/
Pool full of liquor, then you dive in it/

He uses hyperbole to highlight the ridiculousness and exaggeration of some people’s consumption of alcohol. Hyperboles are a big part of music and rap especially. Through hyperboles, a writer can tell a story with more spice making it more interesting to the reader or listener.

Swimming pools are a song more about how alcohol affected Kendrick as a kid and as a performer throughout the start of his career. He was able to paint a perfect picture for the listener with his poetic lyrics and use of literary devices.