New Book “Poetic Song Verse” Explores When Poetry and Popular Music Collide

Mike Mattison of Tedeschi Trucks Band and professor Ernest Suarez invented the musical genre that blends blues-based popular music and poetry, finding its rhythm in the 1960s with the help of Bob Dylan.

University Press of Mississippi
University Press of Mississippi

A new book is inventing a new musical genre.

“Poetic Song Verse: Blues-Based Popular Music and Poetry” explores the connection of poetry and music, starting in the late 1950s before finding its stride with Bob Dylan and a generation of musicians who followed.

Ernest Suarez is a professor in Washington, D.C., who wrote the book with Mike Mattison, who is the lead singer of the Tedeschi Trucks Band.


“We made it up to explain a type of music that occurred when poetry came into contact with popular music. Is it literature, or is it music? It’s both.” — Ernest Suarez


Listen: Authors Ernest Suarez and Mike Mattison discuss their book “Poetic Song Verse.”

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  • Ryan Patrick Hooper
    Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host and producer of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. Hooper has covered stories for the New York Times, NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.