“Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass” Review

Lana Del Rey’s collection of poetry offers solace amidst the roller coaster of 2020

What is the best way to effectively communicate the unsettling roller coaster of emotions that is 2020?

For Lana Del Rey fans, there is no better solace than her debut poetry collection, “Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass.”

Lana Del Rey’s unique talent has been largely misunderstood throughout her career. Consistently labelled a poet instead of a pop star by both fans and critics, her distinctive artistry and eccentric imagination have become undisputed assets in her latest project. More of a cult creator than a chart-topping singer, Del Rey will likely expand her horizons and gain a dedicated new audience because of her latest work.

The title of the collection’s eponymous poem, “Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass,” conjures varying images for different people. Within this poem, the picture Del Rey paints through her words is a surprisingly sweet depiction of a young girl flung backwards on the grass, grasping dandelions in her hands, and filled with a youthful elation for life.

Fixed on a strong but undefined purpose, the scene forces Del Rey to pause as she watches the little girl “waiting for the fireworks to start.” The poem’s concluding line declares, “In that moment, I decided to do nothing about everything.” At the very beginning of her book, Del Rey has written a fitting prognosis of the innumerable global catastrophes of 2020, perfectly setting up the tone for the rest of the collection.

Other highlights from the collection include poems such as “my bedroom is a sacred place now – there are children at the foot of my bed,” “The Land of 1000 Fires,” “Paradise is Very Fragile,” and the poems “happy” and “Thanks to the Locals,” written with simple yet powerful language.

Del Rey speaks about independence and self-awareness in “children at the foot of my bed,” while bravely squaring-off with the ghosts of her past in  “happy,” and “Thanks to the Locals.” In light of these encounters, “Land of 1000 Fires” is one of the strongest poems from the collection, as Del Rey leaves behind her familiar surroundings to explore an unknown land with her lover who allows her to “be who I would have been if everything had turned out alright.”

Other poems feature references to songs from her most recent album “Norman F***ing Rockwell!” In “Sugarfish,” she flips the ideology of her song “Cinnamon Girl” on its head, while certain expressions in “ringtone” reference her song “Happiness is Like a Butterfly.”

Lana Del Rey’s collection is filled with touching narratives and, despite her well-known idiosyncrasies, she provides her readers with heartfelt universal truths to hold onto. The world may be spinning out of control, but Lana Del Rey will always have poetic phrase great enough to encompass the chaos.

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