A field guide to the references on Taylor Swift's 'The Tortured Poets Department'

August Brown, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Clara Bow

The silent era actor who popularized the term "It Girl," she epitomized the free-spirited "flapper" of the era, and later became a cautionary example for how the entertainment industry chews up talented and beautiful young women.


A small town on the Florida Panhandle, halfway between the military city of Pensacola and the "Redneck Riviera" of Panama City Beach, near where Hurricane Michael hit in 2018.

Jehovah's Witnesses

An offshoot of Christianity famous for going door-to-door recruiting in dark suits, looking a lot like a certain British rock singer.

Stevie Nicks

The Fleetwood Mac singer whose ethereal, mystic aesthetic has long been songwriting, vocal and fashion inspiration for young singers, yet as Swift put it, it's "hell on earth to be heavenly."

Taylor Swift


She finally gets meta as she riffs on a newcomer who will inevitably be compared to her, with an "edge she never did," only to have the biz grind her down too.

The Black Dog

A pub in London now likely to become the U.K.'s version of the constantly swarmed Beachwood Cafe.


A ancient Trojan priestess who was fated to be a prophet but never believed, most famously about Greek troops hiding inside the Trojan Horse.

'The Bolter'

In the novels of the British writer Nancy Mitford, it's a nickname given to the narrator's mother, a serial monogamist who cycles through relationships. A real-life inspiration, Lady Idina Sackville, scandalized 1920s high society in the U.K. and its colony in Kenya.

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