Today is 12/6/17, so I thought I would give you an excerpt from my new book Reverie, which now has an official release date: January 22, 2018. Yippee! It’s not the Thanksgiving release I was hoping for, but I’ll take it.
Without further adieu, the excerpt:
“So anyway, I was really surprised when my friend gave me a book of poems, and it turned out I actually liked it.” She hesitates, then sounds almost shy when she says, “I memorized a few of the poems. Do you want to hear some of it?”
“Of course,” Lucinda answers, the smile still on her face.
“‘Tell me it was for the hunger,’” the girl recites from memory, her eyes taking on a far-away look:
“‘& nothing less. For hunger is to give
the body what it knows
it cannot keep. That this amber light
whittled down by another war
is all that pins my hand to your chest.’”
Credit where credit is due: That poem fragment is from Ocean Vuong’s Night Sky with Exit Wounds. Love that book.
And in Other News (Speaking of Poetry)…
Lately, I don’t seem to be able to get enough of the artist Kid Cudi, a Cleveland-born, New York-based rapper. I’ve loved hip hop since I first discovered Run DMC when I was about twelve years old. It’s a surprising love, maybe, a white girl from the suburbs who was nursed on classic rock. But there’s something about the spoken-word, poetry aspect of rap music that I’ve never been able to get enough of. I think it’s probably the way a talented rapper can twist and bend words and rhythms to tell a story that appeal to my own inner poet.
Anyway: Kid Cudi. I find him somehow infinitely relatable, and his music has been the constant background soundtrack to Reverie. Again, it’s odd, because he often raps about life in the fast lane as he struggles with addictions and nightmares and posers, a culture that’s all very far removed from the Deep South world of Reverie.
But I think there are some unexpected parallels: A lot of Reverie has to do with Lucinda’s own nightmares, and her contradictory addiction-to-but-loathing-of her past.
It’s hard for me to pick a favorite Kid Cudi song, but here’s one that I’ve been listening to a lot and that seems to go with Reverie in its own strange way. You have to listen carefully to the lyrics, because if you only listen superficially, it will seem to be a song glorifying the “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll” culture lionized by a lot of hip hop. If you listen more carefully, you’ll hear Kid Cudi’s discomfort with that culture, and the masks he has to wear to fit in. THAT is what makes it go with Reverie.