Taylor Swift Is Related to an Actual Tortured Poet

Guess who's related to Emily Dickinson?
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2024 11:22 AM CST
Taylor Swift Is Related to an Actual Tortured Poet
Taylor Swift performs during her Eras Tour at the Tokyo Dome on Feb. 7 in Tokyo.   (AP Photo/Toru Hanai, File)

Taylor Swift has a rather interesting sixth cousin, three times removed. Ancestry.com gives Today the scoop that dangling out on the songstress's family tree is another bit of American royalty: Emily Dickinson. "Swift and Dickinson both descend from a 17th-century English immigrant (Swift's ninth great-grandfather and Dickinson's sixth great-grandfather who was an early settler of Windsor, Connecticut)," says Ancestry. It turns out that Swift's ancestors hung out in Connecticut for six generations, before relocating to Pennsylvania, where they married into the Swift bloodline. Whether Swift herself was aware of the genealogical connection, she's referenced Dickinson in potentially subtle and definitely overt ways:

  • From a 2022 awards acceptance speech: "If my lyrics sound like a letter written by Emily Dickinson's great-grandmother while sewing a lace curtain, that's me writing in the Quill genre."
  • Her album Evermore: Long speculated to be a nod to a Dickinson poem referencing "forevermore," Swift announced the album on Dec. 10, 2020—what would have been Dickinson's 190th birthday.
  • Her album Folklore: Swift noted that the cover idea stemmed from an idea of "this girl sleepwalking through the forest in a nightgown in 1830." That happens to be the year Dickinson was born.
Cue Swifties lining up to lay friendship bracelets at the grave of the notoriously private and reclusive poet. (More Taylor Swift stories.)

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