Patti Smith Comments on Taylor Swift Name Dropping Her in the Tortured Poets Department

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On Friday, April 19, Taylor Swift dropped her 11th studio album The Tortured Poets Department. On the title track, the Eras Tour star mentions two of her inspirations, songwriter Patti Smith and poet Dylan Thomas.

“You’re not Dylan Thomas/ I’m not Patti Smith/ This ain’t the Chelsea Hotel/ We’re modern idiots,” Swift sings in the chorus of the track.

The same night the album was released, Smith responded to her name being included in the song on her Instagram page. She shared two black-and-white photos of herself reading Dylan Thomas’ Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog, a collection of his short stories. Seemingly inspired, Smith formatted her caption to look like a poem. She wrote:

“This is
saying I was
moved to be
mentioned in
the company
of the great
Welsh poet
Dylan Thomas.
Thank you Taylor.”

Smith has been asked her opinion on Swift before, saying in a 2019 interview with the The New York Times, “She’s a pop star who's under tremendous scrutiny all the time, and one can’t imagine what that’s like. It’s unbelievable to not be able to go anywhere, do anything, have messy hair. And I’m sure that she’s trying to do something good. She’s not trying to do something bad. And if it influences some of her avid fans to open up their thoughts, what does it matter?”

The album has 31 songs on it and her fans have been busy analyzing who they may be about. Swift broke up with her boyfriend of six years, actor Joe Alwyn, in early 2023. She then went on to have a brief fling with The 1975’s frontman Matty Healy. She is now dating NFL star Travis Kelce. Some listeners believe the track “The Tortured Poets Department” is about Healy as it describes a whirlwind romance between two artists.

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