“Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass," Lana Del Rey’s first poetry collection, establishes itself among one of the most digestible celebrity poetry collections exploring themes of Americana, trust, love, fame and melancholy.
With the rise of Instagram poetry, either a pest or the peak of poetry to some, my expectations of Del Rey’s poetry book was neutral. I pushed my six years of being a fan, the consistent albums delays and false release dates, odd behavior and controversies throughout these past few months aside.
However, I must admit that Del Rey has the essence of a poet in her lyrics. So, my expectations were a pinch higher compared to other celebrities' poetry book attempts. Del Rey in the past has personified relationships, the media, and other events in songs, such as "High By The Beach.”
In the opening poem that shares the same name of the book, the speaker “decided to do nothing about everything/forever.” The author depicts a scene during what seems to be a Fourth of July gathering with the line “Waiting for the fireworks to begin.” This line also introduces the theme of Americana.
Del Rey’s imagery is meticulous and raw as she goes into detail about her emotions, nature, and facial features. The names of random strangers pop up here and there. Del Rey’s design includes her slowly-becoming-iconic typewriter, which she strikes through and edits.
One aspect of this poetry book that I enjoyed the most was how the reader can see her process of creating the poems. Examples of this are “Never to Heaven” and “Quiet Waiter—Blue Forever” where Del Rey has the draft on the left side and her edited edition on the right.
If this poetry book was a music album, “Sports Cruiser” would be the leading single. Not for the radio, per se, but it has the best context. The speaker, who we might say is Del Rey herself, drives deep into her inner psyche. The events within the three pages include flying a plane on her birthday, learning how to sail a boat, and trusting yourself.
Yet a couple of downsides of “Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass” is the lack of page numbers and lack of sections. I can not tell if this was supposed to be initial or not due to the book's theme of escaping and dreaminess. The poems sometimes felt randomly placed with no connection to the next.
Imitate is the perfect word to describe this work. The prose is not too difficult to understand or too simplistic. Packed with enough figurative language that a first-time reader of poetry would understand. Each photo connects to the following poem. There is also a section at the end of the book called, “notes for a poet.”
Overall, Lana Del Rey’s first book was a great start at her taking a step into the poetry world. Better than most poetry books of our time, Del Rey sets herself apart by using her environment, life experiences, and lost love to create a world that the reader can escape to.