Why are new lyrics to old songs so often a source of inspiration and fun? This article explores how poems that rewrite popular song lyrics belong on the continuum between parody and burlesque. The parodist pays homage to the author of the source, but at the same time skewers the author by appropriating his distinctive style and using it to poke fun at him. The burlesque writer trades on the familiarity of the source material and uses it for commentary. New words for old songs give pleasure because they engage more of the senses than simply reading them. The reader “hears” the poem while reading it. The humor in the poem is enhanced for those who know the original melodies, keeping the song alive through the humor the parodist evokes.
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