Posted by Chelsea W.
WIn case you haven’t heard already, April is National Poetry Month! I normally write music posts here, but I also love poetry. So, in honor of Poetry Month, I will bring music and poetry together today! Because the Library, of course, can help you get both.
Recently, I was reflecting on one of my favorite poems — T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” It put me in mind of a song that I am very fond of: “Mermaids” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (on the album Push the Sky Away). Probably the most obvious connection between the two pieces is the way they each use the idea of elusive, albeit temptress-like, mermaids to give a sense of sexual frustration in conjunction with one’s increasing in age. There also seems to be an obsession with coming and going, especially with opportunity and the passing of time. Eliot and Cave also share (especially if you look at the rest of Push the Sky Away) preoccupations with self-judgment and the sporadic nature of modern living and information.
This got me thinking of what other music/poetry matches I could make. I would say that Tom Waits and Charles Bukowski in general make a good match: They both bring to mind liquor bottles, dimly lit bars, old pianos, relations with women, bizarre characters, dingy urban landscapes, etc. They’re both edgy underdogs with semi-secret hearts of gold that embrace the gritty parts of life while simultaneously pointing out its flaws. Some of Waits’ music (especially his early work) would probably make perfect sense as a soundtrack to some of Bukowski’s work.