So… what’s the difference between poems and lyrics?

…or is there even one at all? 

(And, heads up now, I’ll be asking a lot more questions than probably answering in this post because I watched Sex and the City this morning and I’m still kind of in the same mindset as Carrie Bradshaw right now.)

First of all, let me describe the extent of my knowledge so no one gets on me for… not knowing enough about literature, or something. 

I’m a writer (shocker, right?) and I like to claim that my two areas of… writing focus, I guess, would be… number 1: stories (short stories, novellas, novels, you know?), and number 2: songwriting. 

Yeah, I didn’t even include blogging in my top two because I just started it a month or two ago and I’ve still got a lot to work on (if you couldn’t tell… but, if you didn’t, I guess that’s a good thing!) 

So, yeah, that’s kind of why I do a lot of little ‘song analyses’ on this blog… which probably seem kind of random thrown in next to short story posts and writing tips and everything. But, anyway, now you know why.

So, back to the main point… what’s the difference between ‘regular’ poems and lyrics? Is there one?

Because I personally feel that there is, and that’s why I’m asking myself about it. 

As I said, I write songs… like, all the time. I write pages and pages of lyrics in notebooks… and then, very rarely, I actually sit down at my piano or guitar and add music to the words. The writing’s the easy part for me, so the other part doesn’t happen as often. But, lately, I’ve tried writing ‘regular’ poems, too… and I can do it, but for some weird, odd reason… it’s 10x harder for me than writing lyrics. 

Yes, I know that lyrics are a type of poem and they both have a billion similarities between them… but, I swear, they’re so different to me! 

So, let’s go through my list of possible reasons why… 

For one, they’re both executed very differently. Going to a rock concert and going to a public poetry reading are two completely different things. Well, in a general sense, they’re similar… in that they’re both places you go to hear someone else’s writing and creativity. Still, though, they both have very different vibes…

Secondly, and this one’s probably just a thing that only I have… well, maybe not. Let me know if you’re like this, too! 

I’ve noticed that when I write song lyrics, I make them way more personal than anything else I write, poems included. It’s kind of like that heart vs. head thing for me… I write lyrics from the heart and poems from what’s in my head. I’m pretty sure that’s the main reason poems are harder for me to write… because they’re from my head and I have to think more than anything about what I wanna say when I write them. 

Third, and I sort of got the idea of this one from Google, poetry and lyrics are seen as two separate categories in a lot of popular cultures. Or just popular culture in general… maybe there’s more than one type of pop culture, I don’t know, but this one’s really true when you think about it. Schools teach poetry (or should, at least…) with other types of literature, but do they use lyrics to teach the subject, or do they use ‘classic’ works from well-known poets? They’ll probably acknowledge that song lyrics are a type of literature… but not teach the mechanics based on a Fall Out Boy song. Unless you went to a super awesome school or had one class with a teacher that made an exception. (I had one class as an exception… it was creative writing, though, of course.) 

Fourth… well, I have to point out the obvious. Lyrics are always accompanied by music, and typical poems aren’t. Poems have to stand on their own… and lyrics don’t. Lyrics are meant to be performed and perceived by ear. There’s a lot more you can add to lyrics with music to change the mood and meaning and such, stuff you can’t really do with a poem on a piece of paper. 

And… I don’t have a fifth point, and it’s gonna bug me that I didn’t make it an even number. Well, I did make it even, actually… but you get what I’m saying, I hope. 

Anyway, there’s just a lot to think about. What’s the difference between song lyrics and other poems? Honestly, even after talking myself through it and writing all of those reasons,  I’m not really sure. I mean, they’re all valid points… but I still feel like there’s something else to the puzzle that I’m missing. 

I probably just raised more questions that I even tried to answer. 

Well… let me know what you think. I typed quite a bit, so I guess I must know at least a little bit on this topic… but I don’t have all the answers. So, again, let me know if you’ve got something to add or inform me on or something. 

Writing lyrics and poems are just so different to me… 

-iKari 🎧 vs. 📚

2 thoughts on “So… what’s the difference between poems and lyrics?

  1. Pingback: Some random words I randomly wrote in my notes – iKariLynn

  2. Pingback: I signed up for a poetry class!!! – iKariLynn

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