Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Good News

I have some good news to share. I heard over the weekend that the University Press of Mississippi received final approval to publish a book that I will edit on the poetics of song lyrics.  This has been a project in the making for a few years, and I can’t say how happy I am to see it come into being. As I had mentioned in an earlier blog, this book idea began when I started a literature class at Belmont University on song lyrics. Essentially, when Johnny Cash died, Tennessee’s Senator, Lamar Alexander, asked on the Senate floor why English departments didn’t study songwriters alongside poets—and I thought his question was a good one. “Why not?” for me turned into “We should.”  The question then became how to discuss song lyrics as literature which this collection of essays will address, directly and indirectly. The focus will be on discussing points of synthesis and separation between poetry and songs.  I’ve solicited essays from a range of folks—literary critics to music bizmen—and I’m excited about the essays we have in this collection. David Caplan will be talking about how rhyme has changed in the hands of hip-hop artists, Dave Marsh (Springsteen’s unofficial biographer) will be talking about how lit professors shouldn’t talk about songs without the music, Tony Tost will be talking about Cash’s persona, John Paul Hampstead will discuss connections between heroic poetry and gangsta rap, I’ll be talking about the sonnet structure within pop country songs, and so on. Other contributors will include the awesome Keith Flynn who has written his own book on songs and poems titled The Rhythm Method, Razzmatazz, and Memory, critic Ben Yagoda, Senator Lamar Alexander, Pulitzer winner Claudia Emerson, founder and director of WAMFEST (The Words and Music Festival) David Daniel, and many other great folks. Simply put, I’m thrilled.


  1. Congrats!! That is great news.

    For the record, I took a college course in song lyrics in the early 90s...so such classes do exist. Song lyrics are very different from poems, and I agree that song lyrics is a valid area of study. Go get 'em, Charlotte!

  2. Yea! And Dave Marsh too, wow.


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  4. Yay, Charlotte! I remember talking about this in your old kitchen years ago. Way to make it happen!