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Target’s version of 'The Tortured Poets Department' contains two intimate poems: Read them here

One poem, which Taylor Swift also shared in an Instagram Reel, turned out to be the source of previously teased lines originally thought to be lyrics.
TAS Rights Management LLC; Beth Garrabrant

Attention: Members of the Department — the wait is over. Taylor Swift’s 11th studio album (or should we say double album), “The Tortured Poets Department,” has officially dropped. And after months of theorizing, sleuthing and decoding by fans, it appears everything has finally been laid out in black and white.

In fact, it may be the star's most transparent album yet — literally and figuratively. This morning, TODAY got a first look at one variant (exclusively available at Target) that underscores this transparency in the form of two "Phantom Clear" vinyl discs.

The Tortured Poets Department Vinyl

Fans who purchase the special Target vinyl will be treated to all 16 core tracks, plus a bonus track titled “The Manuscript” (one of 15 songs dropped on streaming platforms at 2 a.m. ET, confirming that "TTPD" is a surprise double album) and a 24-page book jacket with unique, never-before-seen photos. And in keeping with the titular theme, this edition also contains two very personal poems: an introductory poem by Stevie Nicks and a summary poem by Swift herself (the latter of which Swift shared in part in a new Instagram Reel on April 19.)

With all of this content, it's no surprise that “TTPD” happens to be Target’s largest music pre-order of all time, according to the retailer.

Ready to examine the evidence? We pored over the ink on the pages for potential clues and meaning.

Introductory poem by Stevie Nicks | Summary poem by Taylor Swift | ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ release info | How to buy at Target

'The Tortured Poets Department' Introductory Poem by Stevie Nicks

"The Tortured Poets Department" Introductory Poem by Stevie Nicks
Stevie Nicks

Fellow songwriting icon Stevie Nicks' handwritten poem contains some key information at the very top that caught our eyes. "For T — and me..." is the dedication, suggesting that the message is for Swift and for Nicks herself. Swift's favorite number 13 (which is also the date of her December birthday) is referenced twice: Aug. 13, 2023 (the date the poem was written) and Sept. 13 at 8:50 p.m. (could this be the precise time it was delivered?). Austin, TX, is also listed as the location where it was written.

Nicks begins: "He was in love with her / Or at least she thought so / She was brokenhearted / ~Maybe he was too~ / Neither of them knew."

Nicks continues further down: "She brings joy / He brings Shakespeare — / It's almost a tragedy — / Says she' / Don't endanger me." What's most intriguing here is the repetition of the phrase "Don't endanger me." The words are also underlined, with the word "Pause" and an arrow pointing to them. Clearly, Nicks seemed to be emphasizing this particular line.

The poem continues: "She tells the truth / She writes about it / She’s an informer." This could again allude to Swift's transparency, and a history of sharing truths about her life and relationships through songwriting.

In a 2023 interview with, Nicks spoke about her friendship with Swift and the similarities in their approach to songwriting. “I never don’t tell the truth. And I think that’s something that if Taylor Swift, who is my friend, if Taylor got anything from me, that’s what she got,” she said. In the same interview, Nicks also said she thinks of her own writing as poems rather than songs.

The poem isn't Nicks' only connection to "TTPD." She's also name dropped by her friend Swift in the main album's final track, “Clara Bow:” “You look like Stevie Nicks / In ‘75, the hair and lips / Crowd goes wild at her fingertips / Half moonshine, a full eclipse.” The song draws a connection between three female legends: Bow (a late silent film star), Nicks and Swift.

'The Tortured Poets Department' Summary Poem by Taylor Swift

Beth Garrabrant

If Nicks' poem is designed to introduce the album, Swift's wraps it up. The summary poem details her inner sentiments, poured out in black and white.

Throughout the week leading up to the album's April 19 release, Swift sprinkled little clues for fans to decipher: a Spotify pop-up in Los Angeles, social media videos revealing lyrics and visuals, and more. In her summary — or "hearing" — before the Department, at least some of this fan speculation appears to come to fruition.

First, Swift pleads her case to the Department: "As you might all unfortunately recall / I had been struck with a case / of a restricted humanity / which explains my plea here today / of temporary i n s a n i t y."

Further down, she writes, “Lovers spend years denying what’s ill fated.” This line calls to mind the Apple Music playlists Swift created earlier this month, in response to Swiftie speculation that "The Tortured Poets Department" would explore the five stages of heartbreak. Swift surprised many fans by filing her song "Lover" — a popular wedding song — within the "denial" stage, and this line from the poem certainly sounds like confirmation.

Additional phrases in the poem that could be interpreted as nods to past and new songs include "I tore down the whole sky" and "out of the slammer."

Other potential clues we spied include parallels to the social posts and videos Swift has been sharing leading up to the album's release date. For instance, we can now connect a March 19 Taylor Nation Instagram post to the final paragraph of the poem, rather than song lyrics.

As further confirmation, Swift shared an Instagram Reel at 3 p.m. ET on April 19 reading an excerpt from the Summary Poem originally thought to be "TTPD" lyrics that never dropped. As she flips through the Phantom Clear vinyl booklet, she reads in voiceover, "And so I enter into evidence / my tarnished coat of arms / my muses, acquired like bruises / my talismans and charms / the tick, tick, tick of love bombs / my veins of pitch black ink / all’s fair in love and poetry / Sincerely, The Chairman of The Tortured Poets Department." 

"The tick, tick, tick of love bombs" may also remind fans of her use of clocks, most recently in another official social media video that leads viewers into The Tortured Poets Department to the tune of ticking.

Phrases from the poem also connect to visuals from the vinyl packaging and booklet — for example a "coffee ringed desk" parallels to the faint coffee rings on one vinyl sleeve. The other sleeve features paw prints, similar to those shown in a Taylor Nation Instagram post of a "Board Meeting Agenda."

Swift closes the poem with a line she previously released when she announced the album: "All's fair in love and poetry." And with that, Swift wraps up her summation in "pitch black ink."

When was 'The Tortured Poets Department' release date?

“The Tortured Poets Department” dropped today, April 19, 2024, at midnight ET. Swift then surprised fans at 2 a.m. ET and dropped another 15 songs!

Swift first announced the new album during her Grammy Awards acceptance speech on Feb. 4.

“I want to say thank you to the fans by telling you a secret that I’ve been keeping from you for the last two years, which is that my brand new album comes out April 19. It’s called the ‘Tortured Poets Department,’” she said during her acceptance speech for Best Pop Vocal Album.

After the “Mastermind” singer announced the release of “TTPD” at the Grammy Awards on Feb. 4, it quickly became one of her most highly-anticipated albums. In fact, Spotify shared in an Instagram post that it’s officially the most pre-saved album countdown page in the streaming platform’s history.

How to buy 'The Tortured Poets Department' Phantom Clear vinyl variant at Target

Now that April 19 is here, you can officially get your hands on “TTPD” on Phantom Clear vinyl. Order it online from Target for the discounted price of $39.99.

According to the landing page on, if you pre-ordered the album, it will ship on or around April 19 and is only available to those with a U.S. billing and shipping address. The retailer is also limiting purchases to four per customer, while supplies last.

Also available at Target are three exclusive CDs, each with a double-sided poster with a photo and lyrics, a unique bonus track and more.

If you need us, we’ll be listening with the rest of the Department members for the foreseeable future: Meeting adjourned!