From Poetry Magazine

Burnt CD: A Playlist for the March 2018 Issue

Image of the poet Danez Smith.

For our March 2018 playlist, we asked contributor Danez Smith to curate a selection of music for us. You can read about their approach to creating the playlist below. Click here to open the playlist in your Spotify app.

Confession: I love making a playlist. I love pretending I’m a DJ. I fancy myself pretty decent at working up a groove via a Spotify playlist. I wish I could burn you all a CD, but I tried to pick these songs with similar care so you can jam a little as you settle in with the March issue of Poetry. This playlist has a song for every poem. They are mostly songs I already love, some new to me via the poems, a few bonus cuts, two bops mentioned in Damon Locks’s essay “Digging Culture,” and exactly two inside jokes: “Broken Clocks” by SZA for Carla Panciera’s “Someone Asks Me to Consider Time” and “Yemaya” by Celia Cruz for Camonghne Felix’s “Willing in the Orisha,” though Celia Cruz could just as easy be singing to Martín Espada’s “Letter to My Father” on the other side of that pullout page. (Yes! A pullout page! A poster with those two poems! A great reason to subscribe to get Poetry in print.) Instead I paired Espada’s poem with Emily King’s “For Them.” Kendrick Lamar’s “FEAR.” leapt to my mind while reading Cortney Lamar Charleston’s poem. The bells and bright synths on KING’s “Supernatural” make me feel how I felt when I read Nathan Spoon’s “Cuddly in Camo.” Lani O’Hanlon’s “Back Up Quick They’re Hippies” played out in my head to the tune of Sly & The Family Stone’s “Family Affair.” Lou Reed’s “Andy’s Chest” is given to us from the last line of Geraldine Clarkson’s “Simplify the Universe with a Pie Chart.” There are five songs by five different quintets, including the Miles Davis Quintet and the Spice Girls, to go with Alan Thomas’s work from “55 x 5.”

Some of my favorite poets-singers have tracks on this playlist. One is the title track from Shira Erlichman’s album Subtle Creature, which features Jamila Woods, for my poem “sometimes i wish i felt the side effects.” The other is Woods’s song “VRY BLK,” featuring Noname, which is paired with Sarah Gambito’s “Charlottesville Curriculum.”

I hope y’all enjoy these assembled bops and jams. I hope Ms. Lauryn Hill’s “I Gotta Find Piece of Mind” washes over you like Kaveh Akbar’s “Forfeiting My Mystique.” I hope you sing too loud to “Never Can Say Goodbye.” Happy reading! Happy dancing! Happy March!

Originally Published: March 2nd, 2018

Danez Smith was born St. Paul, Minnesota. They are the author of Don't Call Us Dead (2017), a finalist for the National Book Award; [insert] Boy (2014), winner of the Lambda Literary Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award; and the chapbook hands on ya knees (Penmanship Books, 2013). Smith is the recipient...