daryl hall is my boyfriend, by erica lewis


daryl hall is my boyfriend, by erica lewis


What happens when you take something like a pop song and turn it in on itself, give it a different relevance or frame of reference, juxtapose the work against itself, against other pop music, bring it into the present, experience it in a different way?

This book is a new revising of the confessional. It's about having to grow up, about those feelings we want to get back to, the people we want to get back, the people we’ve had to let go. Humor, love, and responsibility.

Selected from among the nearly 400 manuscripts submitted to our open reading period, each poem in daryl hall is my boyfriend takes its title from a line of a Hall & Oates song. The poems here are not “about” Hall and Oates songs or what they “mean,” but rather what is triggered when listening to or thinking about the music, those feelings, experiences, and memories, that specific nostalgia attached only to the sort of pop music Hall and Oates created. 

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Advance Praise for daryl hall is my boyfriend

"we were singing and / everything made sense," erica lewis writes, and isn't that exactly how it is sometimes? In daryl hall is my boyfriend, lewis explores the associations she has with the songs she loves--from past to present and from family to friends and lovers--and marvels at "how a tiny fragment could tell a story growing up." If I weren't already a believer in the power of pop music, I would be now.
-  Gina Myers

erica lewis’s remarkable sequence of poems takes up the lotion yacht Benson and Hedges 100s mauve cosmo oeuvre of Hall and Oates as an ambient soundtrack for all her body’s movements. lewis recognizes that this oeuvre, like almost any catalog of our obsessions, can address itself intelligently to our most existential worries. What is love? What is memory? How do our bodies and songs survive dominion’s efforts to erase and silence them? lewis’s brilliant arrangements don’t settle at the level of the question though (they can’t go for that): “but if we know all we say we know / this is about devotion and / we’ve got to go somewhere else now to transmit that feeling.”

-  Brandon Brown

In erica lewis’s restlessly alive daryl hall is my boyfriend, the expressive strains of ’80s-era pop become a poetic constraint to explore the limits of memory and intimacy. lewis uses the emotionally raw diction of fandom at the same time that she uses the fan’s singularly intimate tone to knock against the borders of the expressible. This book reminds us that “what we’re nostalgic for is an intensity,” that even when a song triggers memory, “it’s not always about the literal heartbreak.” But in lewis’s lush, precisely shaped lines, we also learn to trust the concordances between the language of others and the language we find in ourselves.
-  Julia Bloch

I am so fascinated by daryl hall is my boyfriend. The sense it conveys of multiple kinds of subjectivities--an intimate subjectivity, like the "I" we feel we wake up with everyday, and our many layered, varyingly coopted subjectivities, of which we come in and out of awareness, reflected through pop music or even just through other people. I'm also taken with the meditative tone, a sort of looking backward not in order to gain any particular inspiration for moving forward, but just to sort of say, "huh, how did I get here?" which has in it both qualities of despair and wonder.

Sometimes a you is speaking to me, sometimes a "you" is speaking to me, and sometimes a voice is just performing speech. Sometimes I'm reading poetry and sometimes I'm reading "poetry" and sometimes I'm literally reading pop music! I've never read anything quite like it--quite an accomplishment.

- Allison Cobb

About erica lewis

erica lewis lives in San Francisco where she is a fine arts publicist and curates the john oates house reading series. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in various anthologies and journals including, ApartmentBOMBBombay GinBoog CityThe Brooklyn RailClinicCoconutDusieEntropyLittle Red LeavesNew American WritingOctopusSink, and The New Megaphone, among others. Books include the precipice of jupiter (Queue Books) and camera obscura (BlazeVox Books), both collaborations with artist Mark Stephen Finein, and the solo project murmur in the inventory (Shearsman Books) along with chapbooks from Ypolita Press and Lame House Press. She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Read erica's poems online at:
•    Entropy
•    Brooklyn Rail
•    BOMB
•    Clinic