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.