Saturday, April 12, 2008

John Ashbery (and it feels so good)

What do John Ashbery and Peaches and Herb have in common? Well, Ashbery wrote his poem "The Songs We Know Best" to go with the melody of Peaches and Herb's big hit "Reunited." I learned this bit of poetry trivia in Rob Sheffield's Love Is A Mix Tape, which I am currently reading and loving. I had never read "The Songs We Know Best" before so I Googled it and, low and behold, it's a featured poem on the mtvU site as Ashbery is the mtvU Poet Laureate. Go figure. Sure enough, you can read the poem along with "Reunited," turning Ashbery's poem into a smokin' R&B slo' jam. It's tantamount to learning that many of Emily Dickinson's poems can be read to the tune of the Gilligan's Island theme song.

Here's the first stanza of "The Songs We Know Best" so you can judge for yourself.
Just like a shadow in an empty room
Like a breeze that's pointed from beyond the tomb
Just like a project of which no one tells—
Or didja really think that I was somebody else?

Read the rest at the mtvU site.

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