From Poetry Magazine

A Playlist for the October 2018 Issue

For our October 2018 playlist, we asked contributor Khadijah Queen 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.

“No matter how low I go / I’m gonna rise up,” says Mary J. Blige in “Survivor,” and I found the spirit of resilience in that song ever-present in this issue of Poetry. In poetry we reach for transcendence, certainly, but it’s important to do so without denial or repression—to understand that it comes with acknowledgement, and, sometimes, a reckoning. In that vein, many poems address the inevitable pain of witnessing and living with death and violence, ableism and other bigotry, heartbreak and grief. José James’s “Sword + Gun” featuring Hindi Zahra immediately came to mind; when Zahra repeats “precious life” we are invited to release our cynicism, however well-earned, and pause to consider all the life on our planet—to value and praise it. Indeed, as Prince tells us, “there’s joy in repetition,” and I hope this playlist will inspire listeners and readers to find in the language and music of this October issue the beauty of revelation, the power of transcendence.

Also: there was a lot of kissing in these poems! And blood! I used keywords from the poems to add some songs new to me (like “Incomplete Kisses” by Sampha), as well as familiar favorites (“Power in the Blood” by Buffy Sainte-Marie and “Transient” by Gaelle, not to mention Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground”). The overall vibe is pretty mellow, and hopefully made for repeat listening while reading, and writing, too.

Originally Published: October 5th, 2018

Khadijah Queen is the author of the full-length poetry collections Conduit (Black Goat/Akashic Books, 2008), Black Peculiar (Noemi Press, 2011), Fearful Beloved (Argos Books, 2015), Non-Sequitur (Litmus Press, 2015), and I’m So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On (YesYes Books, 2017). Her chapbooks include Exercises in Painting (Bloof Books, 2016). Her poems and prose appear in Fencejubilat,...