Van Morrison Barry Alfonso - Essay

Barry Alfonso

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

"Rock poet" has become almost a dirty word in critical parlance, invoking Moody Blues florid gush or worse. Matching verse to music is still a valid activity, however, provided the words aren't intended primarily for the printed page and the resulting song is strong on record.

At his best, Van Morrison achieves this synthesis. Though barely coherent on paper, his lyrics take on a brooding power when sung, seeming like great wisdom even if they border on nonsense. On Astral Weeks, Morrison set gloriously elusive images to a baroque jazz blend, proving himself a true rock poet—a versifier who was also a skilled musician.

Common One, to be up-front, isn't Astral...

(The entire section is 419 words.)