This morning I heard on the news that Phoebe Snow has passed away. The news has made me sad. I didn’t know her personally, but her music touched me deeply.
When I first heard “Poetry Man” I was completely enamoured. I listened to that song over and over, singing every line, and I never tired of it. The song was like magic to me, every time I listened to it I was under her spell. It made me smile and sway. She was my Poetry Woman, making “things all right”. I suppose that’s why I felt so sad about her death. She was a person that created something I found so beautiful, so intoxicating, she created a sweet perfume for my ears… if that makes any sense, and now she’s gone, never to create again.
Here is a brief bit of her bio from her Wikipedia page
As a teenager, she carried her prized Martin 00018 acoustic guitar from club to club around Greenwich Village, playing and singing on amateur nights. Her stage name is the same as a fictional advertising character created in the early 1900s for the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, a young woman named Phoebe Snow, who appeared on boxcars traveling near her hometown.
It should also be noted that at a time when her music career was launching into the stars, she turned it all away. At age 23 she gave birth to a daughter with incredible brain injuries. She was expected and even advised to put her daughter in an institution, and pursue her career. Instead she decided to take care of her daughter herself.
”I’ve finally settled into realizing that my daughter is what she is,” Miss Snow said last week. ”Any progress she makes is fantastic, but I no longer foresee any miracles happening. I went through phases of the occult and of trying to find every single doctor in the country who could possibly do something. I realize now that I can’t move mountains. We now have very good home care for Valerie. And after going on the road with this band, I’ve started to love music again.”
From the New York Times article, “Things are Looking Up Again for Phoebe Snow”
Here is an excellent interview with her from Esquire, 1982 entitled “The Blues of Phoebe Snow”
“Poetry Man” –
I hope you find even half as much enjoyment in them as I did.
The lovely Ms. Snow died today at age 58 due to complications from a brain hemorrhage she suffered last year. I hope wherever she is, her soul is vibrating with the most beautiful and enriching music she has ever known.