And she said, "Listen to Jeff Tweedy's lyrics, and you'll see he's a great poet."
So although I'd dabbled in Wilco's music a bit, and I'd always liked what lyrics I could understand, I paid closer attention. Eventually, I heard about Adult Head, a collection of his poetry, and I finally got around to it this last week.
And you know what? Based purely on this book? Yeah... I don't like poetry.
There's some very interesting stuff here (particularly if you're a Wilco fan), and I'll even say some good stuff, and I'd also like to point out that I am most definitely still not an expert on poetry.
Many of the lines here went on to feature in Wilco songs, and it's nearly impossible for me to read those lines without hearing the music and the cadence and Tweedy's voice. This absolutely transformed the poetry for me. Because for the lines that didn't conjure up known songs, I had much more difficulty relating or caring much about them. I can feel the emotion, and I know that this is very heartfelt work. What was the most interesting for me, about reading these poems, though, was exactly their translation into the songs - I could see and hear the process, I appreciated the transformation, and how voice and music can change everything. Even the poems I didn't much care for - confusion, and stilted ideas - I imagine I'd appreciate much better if I heard Tweedy read them aloud.
The Next Ten Years
I want to begin
where the dilation charges
and juries weep
over half-opened wombs.
Where god staggers in
cleft chinned and brooding
dizzy, sick with creation.
I want to begin with this,