Taylor Swift Commissioned Stevie Nicks to Join 'The Tortured Poets Department'

This isn't the first time the two songwriters have collaborated.

Taylor Swift performs onstage for the opening night of "Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour" at State Farm Stadium on March 17, 2023 in Swift City, ERAzona (Glendale, Arizona).
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Fans who picked up physical album for Taylor Swift's Tortured Poets Department were surprised with a contribution from another prolific songwriter: Stevie Nicks. Swift tapped the Fleetwood Mac singer to write an original poem for the surprise double album, which serves as a prologue to the 31-track album.

The piece is has the simple title "A Poem By Stevie Nicks," and includes an annotation of the time and date when it was written: "Sept. 13, 8:50 p.m." It depicts feelings of heartbreak at the end of a relationship—an apt subject for Swift's eleventh album, which has been speculated be inspired by her breakups with actor Joe Alwyn and The 1975 rockstar Matty Healy.

Taylor Swift performs onstage for the opening night of "Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour" at State Farm Stadium on March 17, 2023 in Swift City, ERAzona (Glendale, Arizona).

Taylor Swift performs on the opening night of the Eras Tour, on March 17, 2023, in Glendale, Arizona.

(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for TAS Rights Managemen)

"He was in love with her / Or at least she thought so / She was brokenhearted / Maybe he was too," the poem begins, before describing the two lovers with the phrases "She was way too hot to handle" and "He was way too high to try."

"She was just flying / Thru the clouds / Where he saw her … / She was just making her way — / to the stars — / When he lost her …" it concludes. Nicks also adds the ending dedication, "For T and me…"

Nicks and Swift have been connected long before they came together as tortured poets. The two prolific songwriters have been vocal fans of each other for years, and even performed together near the start of Swift's career, for the 2010 Grammys.

While Nicks' poem can only be found on the album's physical version, Swift also includes a recorded nod to Stevie Nicks in the final song of the standard half of The Tortured Poets Department, called "Clara Bow." The track is about a girl who dreams of "making it" as a star, and it name-drops three specific "It girls" throughout history: Bow (the Old Hollywood icon from whom the moniker originated), Nicks, and Swift herself.

Musicians Taylor Swift and Stevie Nicks perform onstage during the 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on January 31, 2010 in Los Angeles, California

Taylor Swift and Stevie Nicks perform at the Grammy Awards on January 31, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.

(Image credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)

“You look like Stevie Nicks / In '75, the hair and lips / Crowd goes wild at her fingertips / Half moonshine, a full еclipse," one verse begins, calling back to the height of Nicks' fame.

Later in the song, Swift becomes one of the icons that the unnamed narrator dreams of matching in fame. “You look like Taylor Swift / In this light, we’re loving it / You’ve got edge, she never did / The future’s bright …dazzling.”

Contributing Culture Editor

Quinci is a Contributing Culture Editor who writes pieces and helps to strategize editorial content across TV, movies, music, theater, and pop culture. She contributes interviews with talent, as well as SEO content, features, and trend stories. She fell in love with storytelling at a young age, and eventually discovered her love for cultural criticism and amplifying awareness for underrepresented storytellers across the arts. She previously served as a weekend editor for Harper’s Bazaar, where she covered breaking news and live events for the brand’s website, and helped run the brand’s social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Her freelance writing has also appeared in outlets including HuffPost, The A.V. Club, Elle, Vulture, Salon, Teen Vogue, and others. Quinci earned her degree in English and Psychology from The University of New Mexico. She was a 2021 Eugene O’Neill Critics Institute fellow, and she is a member of the Television Critics Association. She is currently based in her hometown of Los Angeles. When she isn't writing or checking Twitter way too often, you can find her studying Korean while watching the latest K-drama, recommending her favorite shows and films to family and friends, or giving a concert performance while sitting in L.A. traffic.