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July 16, 2018

Joanna C Valente's Playlist for Their Poetry Collection "Sexting Ghosts"

Sexting Ghosts

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Lauren Groff, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Joanna C Valente's Sexting Ghosts is a powerful and inquisitive poetry collection.

Jasmine Dreame Wagner wrote of the book:

"These poems together form an epic flush with oblique strategies for survival. Valente's arguments sear then soften, become inquiries, persistent efforts to either understand or to cut ties with what time has shed."


In their own words, here is Joanna C Valente's Book Notes music playlist for their poetry collection Sexting Ghosts:



Robert Glasper - Of Dreams to Come

This song is so dreamy dreamlike, neither melancholy nor joyful, but a kind of reflection on the present moment, a present that may be somewhat unfulfilling or confusing and transient. We're always changing and evolving, and that can be a difficult, uncomfortable thing to experience. Since the book focuses so much on the body, and gender dynamics and gender dysphoria, as well as the strange fluidity of the internet and how our relationships often exist largely on the internet or through text, I wanted to reflect that.



Washington Phillips - What Are They Doing in Heaven Today?

So much of the book is an exploration and reflection on spirituality in a modern landscape, obsessed with the idea of the possibility (or lack of) an afterlife, but also a purpose or meaning. What does it all mean, where is our place? The song, which was written by American gospel singer, Mavis Staples, is full of suffering and pain and longing, much like the poems -- for something greater beyond ourselves. But most importantly, for this all-encompassing love.

"I'm thinking of friends whom I used to know,
Who lived and suffered in this world below
But they've gone off to heaven, but I want to know
What are they doing there now?

Oh, what are they doing in heaven today,
Where sin and sorrow are all done away?
Peace abounds like a river, they say.
But what are they doing there now?

There's some whose hearts
Were burdened with care
They paid for their moment with fighting and tears
But they clung to the cross trembling in fear
But what are they doing there now?

What are they doing in heaven today,
Where sin and sorrow are all done away?
Peace abounds like a river, they say.
What are they doing there now?

And there's some whose bodies were full of disease
Physicians and doctors couldn't give them much ease
But they suffered 'til death brought a final release
But what are they doing there now?

What are they doing in heaven today,
Where sin and sorrow are all done away?
Peace abounds like a river, they say.
What are they doing there now?

There's some who were poor and often despised
They looked up to heaven with tear-blinded eyes
While people were heedless and deaf to their cries
But what are they doing there now?

What are they doing in heaven today,
Where sin and sorrow are all done away?
Peace abounds like a river, they say.
What are they doing there now?

What are they doing in heaven today,
Where sin and sorrow are all done away?
Peace abounds like a river, they say.
What are they doing there now?"



Eartha Kitt - I Want to Be Evil

There's definitely a sense of wanting to break out of the status quo with the various characters in the story. They want to be happy, and like Kitt in this song, they're tired of being good - because where has it gotten them?



Savages - Husbands

This song, like the book, is full of anger and catharsis and chaos. It's that feeling you get when you wake up and realize you aren't happy with your situation, whether it's your job or your body or how you're identifying or the person you're with. And the book is a reflection on all of these things, that sense of locked loneliness in your life.



Joanna C Valente and Sexting Ghosts links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

Andrea Blythe interview with the author
James H. Duncan interview with the author
Largehearted Boy playlist by the author for Marys of the Sea


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists


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