From Poetry Magazine

Hooks: A Playlist for the December 2017 Issue

For our December 2017 playlist, we asked contributor Sonnet L’Abbé to curate a selection of music for us. You can read about her approach to creating the playlist below. Click here to open the playlist in your Spotify app.

My playlist offers one poem per song, in the same order as the poems appear in the magazine, except that I chose one song for Mark Laliberté’s three visual poems, which I treated as a suite. For me, good poems, in a different way than good songs, have some sort of “hook.” It could be the sparkly word or the eviscerating word, it could be the absurd tone, the plot of a long story or an anachronistically ethnic musicality. Whether it was a floaty quality that permeated the entire poem or a single vocab barb that jutted out from the whole, I worked by trying to name the poem’s hook on which my mind caught, and then I searched for a song from there.

I like to think of the relationship of each poem to its song as a kind of call-and-response, tone and echo. This is your poem, reflected through my body-vibe prism.

I loved the process of trying to find a song-twin for each of these poems, which took me into Serbian metal, the Sister Wives and Twilight soundtracks, limbo, fifties movies’ music, trap, and country. Canadians are in the midst of vigorous, transformative public conversations about Indigenous peoples’ resurgence, sovereignty, and land claims, and I’m thinking a lot about my own nationhood and land these days, so that associative logic is there in more than one of my musical choices.

I know I don’t have to introduce an American audience to our poet/songster supreme Leonard Cohen, but if you don’t know Blue Rodeo, The Tragically Hip, and Lido Pimienta, I hope you enjoy them!

Originally Published: December 8th, 2017

Sonnet L’Abbé is the author of three poetry collections and was the editor of Best Canadian Poetry 2014 (Tightrope Books). Her parents gave her the name. She lives on Vancouver Island.