Before you start judging this article because of the title, first hear me out. This is a personal opinion that I know is very debatable and has been whenever it is brought up, especially in class, but I have a strong viewpoint about this topic.
I think that songs and poetry are similar because of the words, the feeling, the rhythm, and flow when it comes to writing both songs and poetry. Now the structure of writing a song and poetry is different but the overall big picture is very much the same.
I first started writing lyrics and songs and that later became a passion of mine without me realizing it. I am very musical and I had a way of creating rhythm with words when I wrote down things that would pop in my head. I would consider those words that I wrote down not only lyrics but poetry because of the feeling I put down into it. I never wrote those words in a structure of songs but just words and sentences in a notepad or the notes app on my phone. That’s when I realized that songs are poetry too, but it just depends on how you look at different songs individually.
If you look into the history of poetry, it started as ancient Greece performing their poetry with the instrument called the lyre and then the oldest collection of Chinese poetry, the Shijing, were collections of songs. So even in the past, poetry was looked at as songs. There are many songwriters who are considered poets like John Lennon, Tupac Shakur, Bob Dylan, and many more. Bob Dylan is the one who changed the game because he won the Nobel Prize for Literature and that started the conversation that song lyrics can be considered as poetry. His songs were looked at more than music, his lyrics were just not lyrics but had a deeper meaning. He uses metaphor and figurative language, just like we use in poetry, in his songs like in All Along the Watchtower. And I’m not saying that every song is poetry or if every songwriter is like Bob Dylan but the bigger picture is that a lot of words in some songs are very poetic. To be poetic is to express emotions through words that are written beautifully and can make the readers feel some type of way. And there are lots of songs out there that the lyrics really speak for the listeners and make you feel something.
The overall message I want to leave you with is that not all songs are poetry but some are and we know it when we listen to them. Those songs might not be written as poetry but they are poetic and songs and poetry are not twin sisters but are sisters. Songs make you feel the same emotions as poetry might do and at the end of the day, the words of those lyrics and poetry can really speak for us when we don’t know how to express.