“Good song-writers don’t need to be considered poets”

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Poetry critic William Logan on On Forever Words by Johnny Cash:

Good song-writers don’t need to be considered poets—they’re walking the other side of the street. Words matter there, but they matter more with music.

This unnecessary book has no doubt been pitched as poetry because poetry is rarely so “relatable,” the saddest word in the language. Nick Carraway is relatable, but Gatsby a great novel because Gatsby is unknowable. Hamlet is not relatable. Achilles is not relatable. Sometimes we understand the plight of a character, sometimes the necessity of tragic action—but, if a character is no more than our mirror, there’s nothing left to know.

Read more at the New Criterion

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