Can songs be poems? Try to use the terms vocation, emotion, figure, association, ambiguity, persona, or defamiliarization.

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Certainly, for some artists, song lyrics can read like poetry. Song lyrics, of course, are set to music, and most poems are read in the midst of silence; poetry relies on other literary elements to create rhythm and a kind of musicality. In this sense, then, the language used in...

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Certainly, for some artists, song lyrics can read like poetry. Song lyrics, of course, are set to music, and most poems are read in the midst of silence; poetry relies on other literary elements to create rhythm and a kind of musicality. In this sense, then, the language used in poetry is often manipulated in order to do more things than the language used in songs. In terms of subject matter, both songs and poetry seem to take human emotion and experience as their dominant subject. In terms of vocation, a person who wants to be a song-writer obviously has some significant desire to express themselves through language, and so do people who wish to be poets. Both poems and songs can rely on figures of speech in order to produce a depth of meaning and convey ideas. For example, in Bob Dylan's song, "Like a Rolling Stone," he seems to ask a specific person the question:

How does it feel, how does it feel?
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone

He compares this wealthy woman, who seems to make no real emotional connections with anyone, to a homeless person, to someone who is unknown to anyone. He compares her, via simile, to a stone that never stops rolling (and so never really develops a relationship or role within its environment because it is always moving on). We also typically refrain from assuming that the poet is the speaker of the poem, as sometimes the speaker is an object or someone quite different from the poet. Likewise, song-writers can create a persona in their songs as well; the "speaker" of the song is not necessarily the writer or the artist who sings the song. Poems and songs can absolutely share certain features.

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