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View Diary: Books Go Boom!   Bob Dylan's Birthday: Are Rock Lyrics Poetry? (243 comments)

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  •  Phrase or couplet (2+ / 0-)
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    Brecht, Monsieur Georges
    I'm more likely to be struck by just a phrase or couplet that is especially evocative.
    Well, heck - isn't that what good poetry does?  

    Surely it is the special province of the poet to condense essential experience down to its simplest, most elegant expression - such as a couplet.  I would submit that that is the very thing that distinguishes between a clever lyric and actual poetry.  Especially when those phrases or couplets come to you unbidden, outside of the context in which you first encountered them.  

    Think about the sorts of people who pass that particular test (if you want to accept it as a test.)  How about a fella went by the name of Shakespeare?

     In fact, it was a Dylan lyric that first made me aware of this.  When I was  a teenager, a friend of mine quoted Tangled Up In Blue to describe the beginnings of a recently-failed relationship:  "I helped her out of a jam, I guess, but I used a little too much force."  Before that, I had only thought of that line as interesting.  Hearing him apply it to the real world - and take some solace from it - made me realize it was profound.

    When you punch enough holes through steerage, the first-class cabins sink with the rest of the ship.

    by Roddy McCorley on Sat May 25, 2013 at 09:56:01 PM PDT

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    •  There's an apt Dylan quote for 9 experiences out (1+ / 0-)
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      Monsieur Georges

      of 10. It seems to me.

      But to live outside the law you must be honest

      You do what you must do, and you do it well

      Either I'm too sensitive, or else I'm getting soft

      But I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now

      The truth was obscure, too profound and too pure, to live it you have to explode

      He not busy being born is busy dying

      If I'd lived my life by what others were thinkin', the heart inside me would've died

      An I say, "Aw come on now, you must know about my debutante." An she says, "Your debutante just knows what you need, but I know what you want."

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 11:09:37 PM PDT

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    •  well, yes -- my point being that "good poetry" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Monsieur Georges

      implies that you've filtered out the chaff before releasing the poem. many rock lyrics contain some excellent poetry, embedded in a some stuff that is either very bad poetry, or (in the eyes of some folks) not poetry at all.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Sun May 26, 2013 at 10:45:48 AM PDT

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