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Way back in January 2019, Lana Del Rey alerted her fans that she’d recently “finished a short book of poetry I’ve been writing over the last 13 months that I’ll be putting out later.” In the 18 months since then, we’ve learned the book’s title, Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass, as well as Lana’s plans to follow it with a new album later in 2020.
But today (July 28), Violet is finally here — as an audiobook. It includes 14 poems read by Lana herself and accompanied by music from Jack Antonoff, who produced Lana’s highly acclaimed 2019 album Norman Fucking Rockwell. According to her website, the hardcover copy will be available September 29; she’ll also offer it on CD and vinyl and as an ebook.
To celebrate the release, you can hear Lana read her poem “L.A. Who Am I to Love You” right now.
True to form, the reading is a gauzy, lonely affair that finds Lana waxing poetic about Los Angeles, unpacking her thoughts about the place through images of a vaping in bed, anxiety over being placeless and bicoastal, and a “private jet for one.” “L.A., not quite the city that never sleeps / Not quite the city that wakes,” she reads, “but the city that dreams for sure — if by dreams, you mean it nightmares.”
On her site, she explained a bit about the story behind the book. “Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass is the title poem of the book and the first poem I wrote of many. Some of which came to me in their entirety, which I dictated and then typed out, and some that I worked laboriously picking apart each word to make the perfect poem. They are eclectic and honest and not trying to be anything other than what they are and for that reason I’m proud of them, especially because the spirit in which they were written was very authentic.” She’ll be donating half the proceeds from the book to the Navajo Water Project.
She’s also planning release a second collection, reportedly due to be titled Behind the Iron Gates – Insights From an Institution, sometime in the near future. But you won’t have to wait long for an even sooner project: Her seventh studio album, Chemtrails Over the Country Club, is set to drop on September 5.
In the meantime, take a listen to “L.A. Who Am I to Love You” above.