“ee cummings” — Timesbold
“Me up at does/ Out of the floor/ Quietly stare/ A poisoned mouse/ Still who alive/ Is asking/ What have I done/ That you wouldn’t have…”
The lyrics of this dreamy song are actually sniped directly from cummings’s poem “Me up at does,” which is about as reverent as it gets. We couldn’t find a video version of this track, so check out our Spotify playlist to listen!
“Graham Greene” — John Cale
“You’re having tea with Graham Greene/ In a colored costume of your choice/ And you’ll be held in high esteem/ If you’re seen in between/ Stiffly holding umbrellas…”
This boppy ode to the prolific writer will inevitably put a smile on your face — even if The End of the Affair did not.
“Brush Up Your Shakespeare” — Kiss Me Kate
“But the poet of them all/ Who will start ’em simply ravin’/ Is the poet people call/ The Bard of Stratford on Avon/ Brush up your Shakespeare/ Start quoting him now/ Brush up your Shakespeare/ And the women you will wow…”
Okay, we know this one is completely dorky, but we couldn’t help ourselves. Just watch the Shakespeare-touting clip above and try not to smile.
“The Jean Genie” — David Bowie
“A small Jean Genie snuck off to the city/ Strung out on lasers and slash back blazers/ Ate all your razors while pulling the waiters… The Jean Genie lives on his back/ The Jean Genie loves chimney stacks/ He’s outrageous, he screams and he bawls…”
Bowie called the title “a clumsy pun” on Jean Genet, who was famously a wayward vagabond, thief and prostitute in his teens and early ’20s. He even wrote his first poem, “Le condamné à mort,” in prison for such offensive. Outrageous indeed.
“Girl Who Wanted to be God” — Manic Street Preachers
“There are times when you feel hopeless/ Just for once for no-one else we are blameless/ The dawn is still breaking its heaven is so high/ She told the truth, told the truth and then she lied…”
We know, we know, another song about Sylvia Plath — but hey, the woman is inspirational. “I think I would like to call myself ‘the girl who wanted to be God,'” Plath once wrote. “Yet if I were not in this body, where would I be — perhaps I am destined to be classified and qualified. But, oh, I cry out against it.”