Patti Smith Sends Taylor Swift a Direct Message After Pop Star Name-Dropped Her in New Song

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Patti Smith; Taylor Swift

Patti Smith is weighing in on The Tortured Poets Department.

After Taylor Swift released her highly-anticipated 11th studio album on Friday, April 19, Smith—an author, singer-songwriter and poet—became one of several notable names mentioned in the pop star's lyrics.

Swift, 34, name-drops Smith in the title track of the new album, singing the lyrics, "You’re not Dylan Thomas, I’m not Patti Smith / This ain’t the Chelsea Hotel / We’re modern idiots."

Among the countless fan theories sparked from those lines, Smith herself took to social media on Friday to share her thoughts about her name in the song.

Sharing a photo of herself reading a work by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, Smith wrote on Instagram, "This is saying I was moved to be mentioned in the company of the great Welsh poet Dylan Thomas."

"Thank you Taylor," the 77-year-old added.

Many fans have wondered about the significance of Smith being name-checked in Swift's song, "The Tortured Poets Department," which is widely believed to have been written about singer Matty Healy, whom the Grammy-winner briefly dated in the summer of 2023.

While comparing Healy to Thomas, and herself to Smith, Swift also mentions the Chelsea Hotel, a location in Manhattan that has famously housed famous writers and artists for decades. Plus, both Smith and Thomas lived there at one point.

"Patti Smith is who you invoke if you want to talk about a woman onstage who is absolutely magnetic and a poet with a capital 'P,'" Harvard professor Stephanie Burt, who teaches a class on Swift, explained to USA Today. "Dylan Thomas is who you invoke if you want to talk about a romantic, self destructive poet who had the talent to back it up, but had absolutely no self-care skills who made everything too much."

"Swift is not only telling [the guy in the song], you're not that talented," Burt theorized. "She's saying, let's not be the kind of artists who make our self-destructive, tortured natures central to our art, which invites everyone to look at what a mess we are."

Healy, frontman for The 1975, is also suspected to be the subject of several other tracks on Swift's new album, along with some emotional songs about her ex-boyfriend of six years, Joe Alwyn and even a couple of sweet tracks about her current lover, Travis Kelce.

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