Happy Birthday, Woody: The Relationship Between Poetry and Music

One Woody Guthrie Song

What is the relationship between poetry and song lyrics? It doesn’t seem cut and dry to me. There are differences — most song lyrics don’t hold up well without music to accompany them, but some do, and some poems can be set to music while most cannot. I got into writing poetry through listening to the music of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. “This Land Is Your Land” makes a pretty good poem, as doesn Dylan’s “Love Minus Zero: No Limits”. And many poems by Blake and Yeats are beautifully enhanced by music. And then there is rap, and some rap music is quite good, both as music and poetry. I don’t have any answers, just musing on it all on Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday.

Be well,


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