I find for me listening to music is so intrinsically linked to the process of creation—any sort of creation, but particularly when I’m writing. There is so much poetry intertwined with song, rising in red light, angry & sweet & lost inside the touch of fingertips.
I wanted to share with you, then, a few of the songs I listened to on obsessive repeat when writing my latest book, Portrait of My Body as a Crime I’m Still Committing. When compiling this mix I came back over & over to how hungry of a book this is, in ways both hot & icy. Found & lost again. I think about how it’s a book about pushing forward always into desire (want me to love you in moderation / do I look moderate to you?), a book about love loud as a scream & feverish as a brand (when you’re not here with me / I get anxiety), a book about the reclamation of power (goddamn right, you should be scared of me), a book about healing despite everything (hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have / but I have it), a book about worship (you’re the holiest thing I know) & the lack thereof (& it's hard to dance with a devil on your back / so shake him off).
A quick content note: many of these songs, like the collection itself, deal with subjects like disordered eating, unhealthy emotional attachment, & anxiety. I know music can be so powerful in influencing my own mood & habits both for better & worse—so if these songs aren’t what you need to hear right now, I’d steer clear of this playlist until you’re in a better space to inhale it.
If you haven’t preordered Portrait yet, I would love to send it to you next month. There are so many reviewers sharing the kindest words on it, & I’m infinitely grateful (“What I think must be said about Portrait is that it is not a book you read and forget about. Topaz Winters strings words together like a melody, and, like a song, her words stay in the back of my mind, always there. It’s a thought both comforting and frightening, that words have the power to stay with you in such a permanent way”; “Portrait of My Body as a Crime I’m Still Committing is a book in which tenderness has given way to hunger, both literal and of the soul. Queer desire, mental illness, and loving a girl likened to the moon in poems sharp and explosive. … Love and desire cleave two sick girls together, the journey of their ascent and descent chronicled in poems so bright with want they ache, they cut”).
Finally, one last note: to my Singaporean darlings, I have a new event coming up on April 23rd, from 7-11 PM at the Merry Lion! I’ll be the featured poet at Spoke & Bird, sharing a few older poems & several sneak peeks from the new book as well. You can RSVP (& sign up for open mic slots!) right here.
Enjoy these songs, my loves. I hope they taste something holy.