All the same, the criteria of what makes for credible poems has evolved along with the style in which poems have written; although one may take from the past and revolutionize it to some degree, it's a new set of idioms that make up the current sensibility. Dylan and others may also be the inheritors of what Poe, Crane and still others have done, but they do so in the practice in another art, related to but distinct from poetry, which is songwriting. Dylan is a songwriter, not a poet. Some would point out that Dylan did produce a book of poetry, "Tarantula", a surreal stretch of William Burroughs insomnia that suggested, yes, but had little in the way of poetic achievement, He was merely typing madly, as Capote said of Kerouac. Leonard Cohen, of course, is the logical example of someone who can both be a published poet, novelist and songwriter and achieve remarkable success in each of those forms. One does need to remind the earnest that Cohen the songwriter was not working as Cohen the poet who, in turn, was not operating under the mistaken diversion of writing a novel while thinking he was in a rehearsal for Sid Caesar beatnik sketch,
The lyrics to Leonard Cohen's song "Sisters of Mercy", written as lyrics , remain lyrics. In that case, Mr.Cohen is a lyricist, a songwriter. As the author of the haunting poetry sequence "Flowers for Hitler", he is a poet. He is a poet and a songwriter, and we appreciate what he does in either in both fields by related, but finely distinct standards. Poetry, written for the page, in a tone closer to vernacular speech, has greater range and may make use of more literary devices and is, as a result, capable of greater depth of feeling , allusion, association. Given the skill of the page poet, the poems have a life , a musicality when they are read aloud. Song lyrics, no matter how "poetic" they sound (or indeed, how actually brilliant they may be) , are confined to the contours of the melody they accompany. Cohen songs, Costello Songs, Dylan Songs, Mitchell songs, Hendrix songs sound stiff, silly and vaguely pretentious when read aloud, as speech, sans melody. Ours is not an age of great rhymed poetry.