Cover star Taylor Swift seems to have accidentally published a poem in British Vogue’s January issue instead posting it at 1 a.m. on Tumblr and regretting it in the morning, as was intended. The budding poet, who also provided some verses alongside Reputation in those exclusive magazines, has written a new work entitled “The Trick to Holding On.” It contains four stanzas, each seven to eight lines long. Occasionally, she repeats words or ideas for emphasis, e.g., “The only thing cut and dry / In this hedge-maze life / Is the fact that their words will cut but / your tears will dry.” The poem is otherwise free organizing principles — i.e., rhyme, meter, or a central metaphor.
A close reading the work reveals that it is about taking control heartbreak. It begins with anaphora.
The second stanza finds solace within heartbreak and reveals that the poem is also a coming–age story, as it entwines the notion the development the self with the ability to sustain loss.
If this were a sonnet, the key turn the volta would come when Swift turns outward to the audience and provides advice. (The tip mostly is about finding a Joe Alwyn your own.)
As the poem concludes, Swift ties her message to her musical work, referencing “all the times / Life nearly ran you f the road” (an echo “All I know is that you drove us f the road” in “All You Had to Do Was Stay”) and concludes with a beguiling paradox.