Poetry With Lou

Singer-songwriter Lou Reed is branching into spoken word performance, which sounds to me like a great idea. His recitation of Poe’s “The Raven” on his latest live album was something special. Lou’s poetry roots go way back — he dedicated the first Velvet Underground album to poet Delmore Schwartz, somehow managed to get the lyrics to his song “Murder Mystery” published in the Paris Review, and once wrote a song declaring himself “The Original Wrapper” (a pun, I guess) for his pioneering use of spoken rhymes in music. Go tell it on the mountain, Lou …

7 Responses

  1. Lou’s PoetryThere used to be
    Lou’s Poetry

    There used to be a book of Lou’s song lyrics, repackaged as poetry. Last I heard it was out of print. My favorite was always Street Hassle, a three part composition, with the last about a girl who OD’s on heroin in the narrator’s apartment. Also, Andy’s Chest from Transformer is really funny, with lines like: “and her bellybutton became her mouth which meant she tasted what she’d speak, but the funny thing is what happened to her toes . . . “

  2. Minstrelas poet, what did
    Minstrel

    as poet, what did Corso say? the poet sits with kings, while the minstrel is just a tradesman. (That’s a guess of a quote from an old video.)

    I think Reed is a poet, ‘cos he fills the criteria Jerry Garcia used to describe Dylan Thomas: ‘Moments of Sanity in an Insaaane World’…

    It’s an interesting question. Beouwolf was a song, makes a great poem, Hit Me Baby One More Time was a great song (it really was), but not much of a poem.

    I reckon it brings us back to Dylan (Bob). Poet or Pretender?

    Have his writings been discussed here? (especially Chronicles?)(too lazy to look)

    I think Dylan and Reed have moments of poetic brilliance, and have obviously read, but can we judge songs by literary standards? (dance about architecture etc.)?

  3. Yes, I finished Chronicles,
    Yes, I finished Chronicles, Volume 1. It was a work of creative non-fiction, I agree…Yes, it had something to say…Like the shuttle flight of John Glenn. A person is always more than they appear to be. Bob Dylan revels in that muse. He is never boring. He always makes you strive to be a better person yourself. I liked that story of the lounge singer who inspired him in one of his lower moments.

    At any rate, Bob Dylan is a person who inspired me to buy and read his book. I have never missed a concert by Dylan in my adult life. I bought tickets to his June 1st concert at BellSouth Ballpark here in Chattanooga — also with Willie Nelson headlining it. I understand that Dylan et al is also coming to Jacksonville, Florida. Should be a large time, as Dylan and Nelson concerts usually are. It will be quite something seeing them together. I have seen them both separately…

    Anyway, to get back to the book review: I really liked that part of the book which told about Dylan’s trip to Louisiana backwoods with his wife, and the story about him reading books in his opium dealer friend’s house and the New York Public Library. He really gave the impression on having being a self-taught philosopher. Dylan to the core…

  4. I’m not sure if he spitshines
    I’m not sure if he spitshines his act when he tours outside of Austin, Texas, but old Willie Nelson is apt to play his hits more than once per concert. One concert he dipped into Whiskey River at least three times, maybe four. Nothing against the man, but it is pretty funny. Every time he throws out a brief introduction, “Well friends, here’s a little number I wrote back in the day, Whiskey river take my mind…”

  5. Poet minstrelsI like that
    Poet minstrels

    I like that Corso quote, might not agree with it, but he’d know better than me. I think every good songwriter would like to be known as a poet, and you could make the argument for any of them; Morrison made it for himself. The first minstrel I’d give poet status to is Leonard Cohen. Even when singing he is reading beautiful poetry. But Lou Reed would be up there. He’s got the inflated ego of a poet.

  6. Velvety GoodnessLou with the
    Velvety Goodness

    Lou with the Velvet Underground was poetry, for me. And plenty of his songs had double meaning, you just had to look for it, like when he sang about “I’m waiting for my man” or with Nico singing “I’ll be your mirror” or at least, it was fun to try to find hidden meanings in the song. When I started listening to his music as a teenager, they were inspiring. I think as far as poetry goes and a wall of sound, no other band really comes close.

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