Poetry Man

Album: Phoebe Snow (1974)
Charted: 5

Songfacts®:

  • In an interview with listen.com, Phoebe Snow explained: "That was the second song I ever wrote in my whole life; the first one so lame I hardly remember it. It was just an exercise for me. I was trying so hard to be this hip and a groovy person. I was so stupid. The second one, 'Poetry Man,' came about because I was really getting the hang of guitar picking and I had these open chords, not open tuning, open chords. And I was having a relationship with somebody. From the words you can probably deduce that the guy was married. It was a bad thing to do. But I got a lovely romantic sonnet out of it. As it turns out, he was not a particularly great guy either. I turned it into this ode to romance. It's funny looking back on it - I sat there and hunched over the guitar and said 'I'm gonna finish this.' I was in the throes of young romance."
  • The Phoebe Snow album was released when she was 22 years old. She toured with Jackson Browne, but a promising career was cut short when Snow's daughter was born with brain-damage and Phoebe stayed home to care for her. Snow had one other hit: "Gone At Last," which she recorded with Paul Simon and The Jessy Dixon Singers. That one hit #23 US in 1975.
  • Queen Latifah recorded this for her 2007 album Trav'lin' Light.
  • Many thought that Jackson Browne was Poetry Man, but Snow denied this to USA Today in 1989. "No, no. It's somebody you wouldn't know. People just thought Poetry Man was Browne because he was the first act I toured with," she said.
  • Snow suffered a cerebral hemorrhage on January 19, 2010 and slipped into a coma. After enduring bouts of blood clots, pneumonia, and congestive heart failure, she died on April 26, 2011 at the age of 60 in Edison, New Jersey.

Comments: 4

  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenAppropriate that she calls her lover a genie, because this is truly a magical song.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 20th 1975, Phoebe Snow performed "Poetry Man" on the NBC-TV program 'The Midnight Special'...
    Six months earlier on December 29th, 1974 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #95; and on April 6th, 1975 it peaked at #5 (for 1 week) and spent 18 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on February 23rd, 1975 it reached #1 (for 1 week) on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
    She had four other records make the Top 100; "Gone At Last" (#23 in 1975, a duet with Paul Simon), "Shakey Ground" (#70 in 1977), "Games" (#46 in 1981), and "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" (#52 in 1981)...
    R.I.P. Ms. Snow, born Phoebe Ann Laub, 1950 - 2011).
  • John from San Francisco, CaSadly, Phoebe Snow passed away in New York on Tuesday (4-26-11). She was 60 years old. PHOEBE SNOW RIP.
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxWhat a unselfish woman. According to Wikipedia, her daughter died in 2007. It also says that Snow suffered a brain hemorrhage in January of 2010 and underwent "life-saving" surgery. Nothing else shown after that.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Randy Houser

Randy HouserSongwriter Interviews

The "How Country Feels" singer talks Skynyrd and songwriting.

Colbie Caillat

Colbie CaillatSongwriter Interviews

Since emerging from MySpace with her hit "Bubbly," Colbie has become a top songwriter, even crafting a hit with Taylor Swift.

Roger McGuinn of The Byrds

Roger McGuinn of The ByrdsSongwriter Interviews

Roger reveals the songwriting formula Clive Davis told him, and if "Eight Miles High" is really about drugs.

70s Music Quiz 1

70s Music Quiz 1Music Quiz

The '70s gave us Muppets, disco and Van Halen, all which show up in this groovy quiz.

Al Kooper

Al KooperSongwriter Interviews

Kooper produced Lynyrd Skynyrd, played with Dylan and the Stones, and formed BS&T.

Part of Their World: The Stories and Songs of 13 Disney Princesses

Part of Their World: The Stories and Songs of 13 Disney PrincessesSong Writing

From "Some Day My Prince Will Come" to "Let It Go" - how Disney princess songs (and the women who sing them) have evolved.