Song Poems: A Unique/Insane Gift

by Intern Jessica Butler

Need the perfect present for the pal that has everything? Already bought them that side table that doubles as a dog cage from SkyMall for their last birthday? Try giving them a tape with your original song poem! According to the now-defunct site Altered Zones (R.I.P.), song poetry has been around since at least the 1940s. Song poems gave average folks an opportunity to have their poems/lyrics made into real (but not always real good) songs by modern musicians, with the promise of potentially “breaking into the music industry.” The practice has pretty much gone the way of the DeLorean, but some independent tape retailers and musicians are still holding (though seemingly more for the nostalgia and novelty than anything else). Zach Phillips of the synth-pop male/female duo Blanche Blanche Blanche is currently offering song poems on his site, OSR, for $10 a pop– whip up a sonnet or some long-form verse, and he’ll turn it into a song for you.

Tape distributor Culture Dealer also semi-recently released a song-poem compilation called “One Hitter Wonders” that’s definitely worth a listen, if not for the rad music, then for the slightly off-beat lyrics.  And if you’re interested in learning more about song poems, take a peek at this PBS documentary, now streaming on Hulu.

(Image source: Night-People Records)

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