a question about poetry
Manila, 21 November—What was your first encounter with Lang Leav?
I think mine was on Tumblr. I thought her writing was… relatable. Plus I admired, without sarcasm, how prolific and how consistent she could be in churning out works. She’s one hell of a writer—and by volume alone, I can’t dispute that. She has nine books to her name, two of which are fiction. Her first one was published in 2013.
Leav has been the subject of considerable debate over the nature of poetry and what ‘qualifies’ as poetry—and I can’t believe this was only last year, when Leav was here to promote her book. I remember how Filipino poet Mookie Lacuesta’s interview with her ruffled some feathers here or somewhere, but I can’t remember how I reacted to this, if at all.
And now, she’s back in our orbit—this time, for completely missing the point of a joke—an SMS from Lazada that was compared to her works because of its structure—to which she replied, unironically, by flexing her million sales. (It’s telling, really, that a certain… formatting becomes a brand?)
Anyway, in the end, I believe that it’s better to boost the things we like, than exert effort to take down the things we don’t?
My favorite Twitter poetry rec account is by poet Caroline Bird. Here, have a Louise Glück rec:
I’m probably the last person who deserves to say anything about what is poetry and what isn’t. The truth is, I don’t know. (I took two poetry electives in college and they both hated me lmao) Maybe it’s in the way the work touches us—ika pa nga, mas mahapdi yung ilan kaysa sa iba. And for legions of Lang Leav’s fans all over the world, that’s what her words mean to them.
It’s just that they’re not for me. And that’s OK. The world is full of readers and there’s space for everyone under this sky.
Speaking of sky—One more rec then, for the road:
What was the last poem that touched you?
Thanks for making it this far. Happy weekend!