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

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.