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August 15, 2012

Book Notes - Leigh Stein "Dispatch from the Future"

Dispatch from the Future

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, David Peace, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Leigh Stein follows her lauded debut novel The Fallback Plan with an equally impressive poetry collection, Dispatch from the Future.

Guernica called the book, "poetry for poetry haters." I have to add that even admirers of verse will adore this volume.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"In the wake of an impressive debut novel, Stein (The Fallback Plan) delivers an equally adroit first poetry collection; a mix both giddy and anguished that incorporates elements from fairy tale, pop-culture, ancient myth, and choose-your-own-adventure books."

Stream a Spotify playlist of these tunes. If you don't have Spotify yet, sign up for the free service.

In her own words, here is Leigh Stein's Book Notes music playlist for her poetry collection, Dispatch from the Future:

My poem "Have You Hugged a Latvian Today?" is about (if a poem can be "about" something) a young woman who is watching the Miss Universe pageant with her boyfriend. He mentions another woman who makes the best mix tapes "ever," and she gets jealous, and decides to make him "the best mix tape ever ever."

This is what would go on that tape.

1. "She's Lost Control," Joy Division

I think when a guy puts this on a mix, he's signaling, "I like crazy girls and I think you're crazy, let's go out." For a girl it's like, "Let me be your manic pixie dream girl."

2. "Hey Ya," Obadiah Parker

You haven't wept at an Outkast song until you've heard this cover.

3. "How Deep Is the Ocean," Ella Fitzgerald

This is one of my favorite love songs.

4. Cello Suite #1 In G, BWV 1007 - 1. Prelude, Bach

This is another of my favorite love songs.

5. "I Will Survive," Cake

This song seems to signal "You might try and break my heart, but I am so cool and invincible, I will walk away unscathed." This, of course, is a lie.

6. "Same Mistakes," The Echo-Friendly

The first time I heard this song, I thought, "Why are they playing this in yoga class?" But it's grown on me. There are features that please me in the same way my favorite poems do: the textural complexity, the repetition, the sadness.

7. "Largo," Fiona Apple

Another song that reminds me of a poem. The light-hearted phrasing is a trick that belies the lyrics.

8. "We Used to Wait," The Arcade Fire

Gotta end on an up here. This song says, "We've been through a lot together. Let's get in a car and drive somewhere with the windows all rolled down."

Leigh Stein and Dispatch from the Future links:

the author's blog
the author's Tumblr
video trailer for the book
excerpt from the book ("Dispatch from the Future" at Art Beat)
excerpt from the book (four poems at BOMBLOG)
excerpt from the book ("How to Read the Secret Language of the Pharaohs" at The Awl)

Guernica review
Publishers Weekly review
Tottenville Review review

Girls Like Giants interview with the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for her novel The Fallback Plan
The Lit Pub interview with the author
New York Observer profile of the author

also at Largehearted Boy:

Book Notes (2012 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
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