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A Tortured Swiftie Decodes 'The Tortured Poets Department' Pop-Up Library

Swiftie community check-in: How are we doing this week? Are we staying on top of our responsibilities? Getting any sleep at all? It’s no easy feat working double shifts — our actual jobs and Taylor’s jobs for us. But if anyone’s up for the challenge, it’s us deranged and delusional girlies. Personally, I’m working on processing her video teaser informing us that we’ve left the Lover house and entered the psych ward. That was a shock to the system. The other latest Tortured Poets Department development is, of course, the pop-up library at The Grove in Los Angeles. Because god forbid we just get new music and then a few interviews about it.

Devastatingly, I’m on the east coast, so there will be no Taylor museum-going for me. However, I did spend spend many, many hours on SwiftTok and Swiftie Twitter last night, so I feel prepared to explain the most jaw-dropping easter eggs from the TTPD library.  Taylor said it herself… she’s a fucking mastermind. This library might just be her most intricate work yet. Allow me to guide you through the obscure hints and references.

Easter Eggs In Taylor Swift’s The Tortured Poets Department Library


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The dried-up flowers

The bouquet of dried-up lavender and cornelia rose flowers seems to be a “Lavender Haze” and “Cornelia Street” reference. The Midnights and Lover tracks are obviously love songs, and the love has obviously died, so this one’s fairly straightforward. Thank goodness.

The quill pen and fountain pen

Assuming you’re not new here, you know that Taylor’s talked about the three different metaphorical pens she uses to write songs: fountain pens, quill pens and glitter pens. She’s said that glitter pens are used for “unabashedly bouncy pop” tunes. At the library, there is a quill pen and a fountain pen, but no glitter pen in sight. We’re getting a sad album? No, it can’t be.

The 72 mailboxes and six open ones

This is where it gets mathy, but stay with me. There are 72 Dewey Decimal system drawers in the library, and six of them are open. I think we can all recall that Taylor and Joe dated for six years, which is 72 months.

Dead wedding flowers and pieces of veil

Naturally, the open drawers contain wedding materials. Taylor did once say: “And I wouldn’t marry me either / A pathological people pleaser / Who only wanted you to see her.” I daresay marriage — or lack thereof — may be a major theme of this album.

The calendar

Okay, so there’s a calendar display with the date Friday, December 13. And no, that is NOT the days she was born. (Taylor was obviously born on a Wednesday, people. Know your facts, please.) That being said, this year’s December 13 will be a Friday. I spy a possible release date…

The 2:00

The exhibit features a clock that’s set to 2:00, which was also the time in the TTPD Timetable teaser. Double release? Indicative of Reputation and Taylor Swift, the two Taylor’s Versions left to go? I need to know the meaning of this right now.

The statue

You may wanna sit down for this one. The statue is apparently Diana of Ephesus, the goddess of childbirth and fertility. The original Diana statue was supposed to be sent to London but CRUMBLED due to neglect. And we got the corresponding TTPD lyrics: “Even statues crumble / If they’re made to wait.” I’m extremely unwell.

Ilana Frost
Ilana Frost
Ilana Frost is an entertainment writer at Betches. As a teenage girl in her twenties, she spends her time stanning Olivia Rodrigo, baking cakes for award shows, and refusing to ever leave her Reputation era.