Patti Smith Responds to Taylor Swift After Being Name-Dropped on “The Tortured Poets Department”

Coming off of a historic year in 2023, Taylor Swift is showing no signs of slowing down as on April 19, the icon dropped her new album, The Tortured Poets Department. Announcing the album during the Grammy Awards, fans have anxiously awaited the release of her eleventh studio album. And with Swift already breaking Spotify records since its release, it appears the singer’s stardom continues to grow. And it seems that Swift is sharing the spotlight as she referenced Patti Smith in the title track “The Tortured Poets Department.” 

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While fans of Swift try to unpack the secrets hidden in her new album, Smith shared her surprise at Swift mentioning her. Looking at “The Tortured Poets Department”, the lyrics read, “I laughed in your face and said,You’re not Dylan Thomas. I’m not Patti Smith. This ain’t the Chelsea Hotel. We’re modern idiots.

For those who might not know, Smith is an accomplished singer, painter, poet, and author. Writing her hit song “Because the Night” with Bruce Springsteen, the singer watched as she landed a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. While an icon herself, Smith decided to break her silence on being placed in Swift’s song. She said, “This is saying I was moved to be mentioned in the company of the great Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. Thank you Taylor.” 

[RELATED: Patti Smith, Corinne Bailey Rae to Head Somerset House Summer Series: How To Get Tickets]

Harvard Professor Breaks Down Why Taylor Swift Mentioned Patti Smith

As for Dylan Thomas, the famous poet created works like “Fern Hill”, “Under Milk Wood”, and “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.” While a profound writer, Stephanie Burt considered him a “self destructive poet.”. Teaching a class on Swift at Harvard University, Burt dissected the lyrics, noting, “Swift is not only telling (the guy in the song), you’re not that talented. She’s saying, let’s not be the kind of artists who make our self-destructive, tortured natures central to our art, which invites everyone to look at what a mess we are.”

Breaking down Swift’s decision to add both Smith and Thomas in the song, Burt explained, “Patti Smith is who you invoke if you want to talk about a woman onstage who is absolutely magnetic and a poet with a capital ‘P’. Dylan Thomas is who you invoke if you want to talk about a romantic, self destructive poet who had the talent to back it up, but had absolutely no self-care skills who made everything too much.”

With her new album only a few days old, it is just a matter of time before Swifties unpack the secrets of The Tortured Poets Department.

 (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)

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