Frank O’Hara and Drake, Together at Last

Slate's Culture Blog
Sept. 10 2013 11:27 AM

Poetry and Pop Music Beautifully Put Together

ohara_drake

Cassandra Gillig doesn’t “really draw a distinction between poetry & music, as far as my listening habits & affinities go,” and “would readily place the Dial-a-Poem albums ... up there with, say, Marquee Moon or 36 Chambers.”

This may explain her perceptiveness in recognizing that Frank O’Hara’s reading of “Ode to Joy” would go beautifully with the instrumental track for Drake’s “The Best I Ever Had.”

Advertisement

“Ode to the Best I Ever Had,” embedded above with Gillig’s permission, is one of several such mashups that Gillig, herself a poet, has created, earning notices on Language Log, the Poetry website, and elsewhere. Gillig doesn’t intend these mashups to be “irreverent,” she explains on her blog. “I think that pop music has a way of capturing our emotions in their most palatable form,” she says, adding that “the musicality of these poets is often ignored & we so often forget that poetry can exist beyond the page.”

An excellent example: William Carlos Williams reading his famous “Tract” over “Lotus Flower Bomb” by Wale.

Gillig works with contemporary poetry, too; below, Dorothea Lasky reads “Outside Chattanooga, Tennessee” over Raekwon’s “Ice Cream.”

You can listen to more on Gillig’s Tumblr.

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 30 2014 2:36 PM This Court Erred The Supreme Court has almost always sided with the wealthy, the privileged, and the powerful, a new book argues.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Lexicon Valley
Sept. 30 2014 1:23 PM What Can Linguistics Tell Us About Writing Better? An Interview with Steven Pinker.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 6:44 PM Ebola Was Already Here How the United States contains deadly hemorrhagic fevers.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.