Is it poetry? Texas professor reacts to Taylor Swift’s ‘The Tortured Poets Department’

On Friday, Taylor Swift released her 11th studio album. But just how poetic is it?

AUSTIN, Texas — A hot debate has ensued over poetry after Taylor Swift released “The Tortured Poets Department,” which is her 11th studio album.

Questions about how poetic the album and if the lyrics can be read like poems were posed to experts by the Associated Press, including one expert who teaches a class on Swift at the University of Texas at Austin.

While songwriting and poems are different mediums, UT professor Elizabeth Scala, who teaches a course on Swift at the university, said she uses literary paradigms to think about the truth.

Is Taylor Swift a poet?

“There is something poetical about the way she writes,” Scala said.

She added that Swift’s work on the album references a time before print technology when people sang poems.

“In the earliest stages of English poetry, they were inseparable,” Scala said. “Not absolutely identical, but they have a long and rich history together that is re-energized by Taylor Swift.”

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Scala said she sees Sylvia Plath as an influence on the album, according to the Associated Press. Plath was a confessional poet who Swift has drawn inspiration from on songs like “Mad Woman” and “Tolerate It.”

“Fortnight” uses enjambed lines (there’s no end stop, or punctuation at the end of each line) and Scala points out the dissonance between the music’s smoothness and its lyrics, like in the line “My mornings are Mondays stuck in an endless February.” “It kind of encapsulates boredom with the ordinary and then she unleashes a kind of tension and anger in the ordinary in those verses,” she says. In the verses, she says Swift “explodes the domestic,” and that fights up against the music, which is “literary.”

RELATED: What does Taylor Swift’s new album sound like? Sad pop and heartbreak music

Swift’s lyrics, too, allow for multi-dimensional readings: “I touched you” could be physicality and infidelity in the song, Scala says, or it could mean it emotionally — as in, I moved you.

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