Songwriters Aren't Poets

5 years ago, when I first told people that I was a singer-songwriter, the first phrase they could think of to say was: Oh, so you write poetry.


And my mouth would utter no because that kind of thing, it just--it just didn’t resonate with me. Half of the time, I could never and still can’t understand or comprehend the fancy words and expressions that are trying to teach me some kind of divine lesson. 


I remember in high school having to read some obscure piece of poetry for a practice AP Test. As one might guess, my brain exploded all over the desk because how was I supposed to know what the random scribbles on my paper really meant?


So the clock ticked on, I kept writing songs, trying to express what I meant, in sentences clear and articulate. I wasn’t a poet for my vocabulary wasn’t big enough, my rhythm was having its own beat off, and honestly, I watched more poets from the sidelines, seeing a world that just didn’t feel like it could be mine.


It was only in recent years, when my friends began yelling in my ears, “Oh my gosh, Maddie! Your songs are poetry.” that I glanced down at my guitar in my hands, seeing bright rainbow-esque colors bleeding onto a paper formerly bland. I rubbed the hues into my eyes and for the first ever, I realized that I was as much as a poet as the next guy. But instead of leaving my poetry to sing by itself, I provide a backing track, some music to help fill the sound out.


So now when people ask me, “Do you write poetry?” There’s no shame or guilt from a lie. Because it’s true. Not because I can do what other amazingly talented writers can do, but rather I found my poetry is my words, my words are my music, my music is my life. I just needed to see that at the right time  with the right kind of shimmering, blazing, iridescent eyes.

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