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Inspired By Poets

There are times when the lyrics written for songs have been inspired by poems. My dad Eriks Raisters was a well-known Latvian poet and writer and he had several of his poems set to melodies and sung by choirs.

In 2005 Natalie Merchant chose the poem “Because I Could Not Stop For Death” written by Emily Dickinson and set it to music,

In the Shakespeare play “As You Like It” the Shakespeare-written song “Under the Greenwood Tree” was performed by Amiens and Jacque. It was later done as a cover by Donovan and could be found on his album A Gift From a Flower to a Garden.

The poet who has inspired musicians the most is Edgar Allen Poe. In 2003 Lou Reed released an album titled The Raven in which spoken-word interpretations of writings by Poe were offered by actors such as Steve Buscemi and Willem Dafoe. You can also find Poe’s poetic words in songs by Bob Dylan and The White Stripes.

Poe’s final poem “Annabel Lee” was set to music and recorded by Joan Baez. 

Queen recorded the song “Nevermore” based on Poe’s poem “The Raven” in 1974.

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