Saturday, 11 April 2009

Songwriters and poets

Songwriters who are poets, poets who are songwriters...

...beyond the debate as to whether lyrics are poems or poems are lyrics, comes another issue: many countries boast prominent songwriters who are also well-known as poets, but not the U.K..

Several examples spring to mind in the U.S., while Spain has a long tradition of writers working in both genres. Among the most famous current crop is Joaquín Sabina - he publishes poetry which has been admired by figures such as Angel González, while also selling out concerts. Apart from the fact he's from my wife's lovely home town of Ubeda, I also feel an affinity with his deft word-play, social commentary and narrative drive, as in the song below:

Does U.K. poetry look down on songwriters? Do we force a distinction on artists (i.e. you're either a poet or a songwriter)? I'm convinced not only that both are compatible, but that they can feed off each other and enrich both the writer and reader/listener.

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