Poetry News

Florence Welch Sure Didn't Waste Her Brain

By Harriet Staff
Florence Welch, Useless Magic, cover

For Florence Welch, writing poems "has in many ways turned out even more exposing" than writing lyrics, the singer tells Emily Mackay in a new article about her forthcoming book, Useless Magic: Lyrics and Poetry (Fig Tree/Penguin UK, 2018). The Guardian has more:

The first poem here, Song Continued, immediately begins to interrogate the difference. “This new voice, this ‘me’ voice / Is it conversational/ Confessional?” The poem debates which stories to give away, what face to present. Blackout-drunk tales for the addiction memoir age? An “aborted threesome”? She’s not entirely comfortable with these “muddy trinkets”, and mostly these poems find a more personal voice without trading revelations, continuing the movement towards the human scale charted in her lyrics. In Honeymoon, which makes reference to her song Shake It Out, she feels the shells of those she’s hurt rattling behind her like Marley’s chains. Catharsis, it seems, isn’t without collateral damage.

The new voice, in the end, emerges analytical, cooler, starker. Some of the final poems in the collection are entitled I Guess I Won’t Write Poetry and I Cannot Write About This, playing self-referentially with the strange, novel tone with a spare confidence.

Welch’s mother is a professor of Renaissance studies at King’s College London who worried about her daughter skipping university to focus on her musical career, lamenting “what a waste of a brain!” Both the lyrics and the poetry in Useless Magic validate Welch’s choice...

Read on here.

Originally Published: July 12th, 2018