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The Poetics of American Song Lyrics$
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Charlotte Pence

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781617031564

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617031564.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM Mississippi SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mississippi.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Mississippi, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

The Day Johnny Cash Died

The Day Johnny Cash Died

(p.3) The Day Johnny Cash Died
The Poetics of American Song Lyrics

Lamar Alexander

University Press of Mississippi

On September 12, 2003, Johnny Cash, country music’s foremost poet of the working poor, died in Nashville, Tennessee. Lamar Alexander, a senator from Tennessee who served as Secretary of Education under President George H. W. Bush and as president of the University of Tennessee, gave a speech on the Senate floor about the loss. After praising Cash, he asked why the state’s English professors were neither writing criticism of the poetry in country music nor teaching songs in literature courses. Alexander stressed the need for scholars at the university level to consider song lyrics as a genre worthy of literary criticism. This chapter reprints his speech, delivered on September 15, 2003.

Keywords:   songs, Johnny Cash, country music, Tennessee, Lamar Alexander, poetry, literature, lyrics, literary criticism

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