Tis the Damn Season: Taylor Swift's evermore

Introduction: from folklore to evermore

Jonathan Ellis

Growing Sideways, Gazing Back

Stephanie Burt and Julia Harris

Bad Songs about Bad Things

Summer Kim Lee

Taylor’s Sweet Escapes

Katherine Ebury and J.T. Welsch

When She Was Seven

Eira Murphy

Slow, Swift Grief

Amber Regis

Some New Shit

Helen Ringrow

History as Metaphor

Olivia Stowell

Spirit Photography

Hannah Williams

Zelda, Daisy, Taylor: Beautiful Fools?

Elisha Wise

Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck

Jeffrey Insko

folklore 2: folklore harder with a vengeance

Pamela Thurschwell

Old Romantics

Jonathan Ellis


Taylor Swift has a reputation for many things. Dropping surprise albums is not one of them, at least not before this year.

If folklore is inspired by William Wordsworth, evermore seems inspired by Emily Dickinson.

On folklore tears ricochet, on evermore there's dull pain without outward sign.

If folklore is a summer romance, evermore is a Christmas reunion at home.

If folklore is summer, evermore is winter.

As Stephanie Burt and Julia Harris point out, "everything's a return to something" on this album, "a rewrite, a re-take, a retraction, a chance to remember and do it again." In stepping back, to childhood, to high school, to country music, to the countryside, to daydreams of celebrity, and to daydreams of being unknown, Swift revisits and updates her own back catalog as material for songwriting.

She revises herself, or almost does.

What did Elizabeth Bishop say in her elegy for Robert Lowell? "Repeat, repeat, repeat; revise, revise, revise."1

Jonathan Ellis (@JonathanSEllis) is Reader in American Literature at the University of Sheffield. His non-fiction essays have appeared in The Letters Page, The Tangerine and The Manchester Review.


  1. Elizabeth Bishop, "North Haven," Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011), 210.[]

Past clusters