Taylor Swift had fans scratching their heads when she mentioned the names Dylan Thomas and Patti Smith on the title song from The Tortured Poets Department. Who are they?

Who are Dylan Thomas and Patti Smith?

Dylan and Patti are well-known poets. They are referenced on the song “The Tortured Poets Department,” which Taylor released in April 2024.

“I laughed in your face and said, ‘You’re not Dylan Thomas, I’m not Patti Smith,’” Taylor sings in the song’s chorus. “This ain’t the Chelsea Hotel, we’re modern idiots.”

Dylan was a famous Welsh writer who died in November 1953 at just 39 years old. He started writing poetry as a teenager and eventually moved to New York City. Meanwhile, Patti is an American poet, as well as a singer, songwriter and artist. She is 77 years old as of the release of TTPD.

What Is the Chelsea Hotel?

Hotel Chelsea was built in the 1880s and housed many famous poets and writers over the years. Both Dylan and Patti resided in the hotel during their careers.

“Enough has been written about – and perhaps, more written within – the Chelsea to satisfy history hounds the world over,” a blurb on the establishment’s website says, referencing the famous writers who have stayed there. “Indeed, it is the hotel’s uniquely rich past which has made it iconic. Yet, those who know it do not define it by its historical significance, but, instead by its ever-evolving, unmistakable otherness. Solid and sumptuous, eccentric yet beautiful, the Chelsea is a world unto itself: a decadent palace of peculiarity.”

What Is Taylor Swift’s ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ Song About?

Fans have speculated that “TTPD” the song is about Taylor’s brief relationship with Matty Healy. The two first dated in 2014 and rekindled things in 2023 after her split from Joe Alwyn. However, lyrics from the album hint that Matty left Taylor heartbroken by walking out on the relationship without warning.

The first hint that the album’s title track was inspired by Matty came from the lyric, “You smoked then ate seven bars of chocolate.” The 1975 singer has never shied away from smoking in public. In the same verse, Taylor sings, “I scratch your head, you fall asleep like a tattooed golden retriever.” Unlike Joe, Matty has plenty of visible tattoos.

Meanwhile, Dylan and Patti aren’t the only names that Taylor drops on this track, as she also sings, “You tell Lucy you’d kill yourself if I ever leave.” This is an apparent reference to Lucy Dracus of the band Boygenius. Matty was friendly with the band before and amid his relationship with Taylor. However, his controversial behavior seemingly took a toll on his relationship with the singers and Lucy called him out on social media in September 2023.