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The Similarities Between Poetry and Music

The Similarities Between Poetry and Music

In the car today, I was listening to the music of Vienna Teng. She has a beautiful, haunting voice and her lyrics are incredibly poetic.

In fact, as someone who writes poetry, I have often felt that poetry and music are very similar. Both art forms have the ability to capture a single experience or moment in time in a very visceral way. Poetry and music are as close as humanity comes to a direct expression of the soul.

For example, Jack Kerouac, who was both a poet and fiction writer, adopted a sort of stream-of-consciousness style of writing in order to approximate just that. His writing was his soul in written form.

I feel, as well, that poetry and music share something in common with meditation. In meditation, we attempt to experience the present moment directly, filtering the experience through the lens of thought as little as possible. Poetry and music both strive to express experience as directly as possible. Narrative writing – which is of course incredibly valuable in other ways – removes that removes the reader from the experience of the writer’s reality because lived experience is not linear and does not neatly follow a narrative. Poetry and music, however, are non-narrative for the most part. The goal of a poet and a musician often involves channeling experience in a very immediate and visceral way.


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Sarah Cooke

Sarah Cooke is a writer living in California. She is interested in organic food and green living. Sarah holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University, an M.A. in Humanities from NYU, and a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University. She has written for a number of publications, and she studied Pastry Arts at the Institute for Culinary Education. Her interests include running, yoga, baking, and poetry. Read more on her blog.


+ add your own
3:54AM PDT on Apr 30, 2013


10:39AM PDT on Apr 25, 2013

lyrically correct

1:07AM PDT on Apr 25, 2013

Thanks for the information.

11:38AM PST on Feb 14, 2013

Thank you.

8:37AM PST on Jan 21, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

4:39AM PDT on Jul 11, 2012


11:04PM PDT on Jul 10, 2012

Yes this is so tue. Thanks for the post

2:48PM PDT on Jul 10, 2012

This similarity has been recognized in Ireland for centuries. In ancient Ireland they did not differentiate. The 'old' Irish used the same word for both and could be translated as; "Why don't you sing a poem" or "why don't you say a song"! Songs are simply poems with music added. Ask the 'poet' Kris Kristofferson turned musician!

2:34PM PDT on Jul 10, 2012

Man/Woman cannot live by bread alone.... music, poetry, dance, and all the Art's are our "Food for the Soul"..... We could use more funding to restore the Art's and Humanities Programs(and Teachers) in all our schools across the Nation.........

9:50AM PDT on Jul 10, 2012


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