SaraEve : If you could begin this interview, what question would you ask (and answer) yourself?
Megan : I would begin the interview asking who and how I loved, since I think that is the most important thing to know about a person right now.
And I would respond by asking what that had to do with the book, and move on.
SaraEve : How do you begin writing a poem?
Megan : Often it begins with a line, an image, a tiny scrap from my day. Lately I like writing poems in the notes section of my phone rather than on a laptop or paper, because it seems so low stakes, like I am texting or something, and that takes the pressure for it to be “good” off of me, which frees something up. I’ve been on a ton of airplanes lately and some of my best poems have been written in the clouds. There’s something of comfort to me knowing that I am in a flying death trap and could plummet at any minute and still I choose to spend my possible last moments writing something down.
SaraEve : Thank you so much for BAD GIRLS, HONEY! What a fun and exploratory read! You take on so many important issues—feminism, abusive relationships, gender binaries and others—and explore them through a complicated and beautiful poetic relationship with Lana Del Rey. What was it about Lana and/or her music that first called out to you in a pivotal way? Is there a specific poem in the book that highlights this moment?
Megan : Angel Nafis was reading a new poem in her living room in which Kanye West gives her advice—I believe—on the eve of her high school graduation. I have always admired how Angel engages with persona (thinking of the Celie from The Color Purple poems specifically) and how these poems never seemed contrived. I asked about her process with this and she said something like, “You have to ask who your patron saint is, and write from there.” I went home that night and wrote my first Lana poem.
I really like the idea of bad advice. Of complicated relationships. Of the nuances and aches in female friendship, especially when queerness and the body is involved. I felt all of that with Lana Del Rey. I don’t always agree with her in interviews or in her lyrics, but I have an undying fascination with her as well. It seemed like an organic muse for me. It’s boring to write from the perspective of or imagine conversations and scenarios with someone you completely agree with. I dig the idea that we could really affect each other, for better or for worse.
Growing up, whenever I would pass the exit for Coney Island with my father, he would pull over and we would ride the Cyclone. When Lana came onto the scene as the self-proclaimed “Queen of Coney Island”, I felt a nostalgia for her even though she was brand new. Interacting with her image in my work seemed impossible not to try.
SaraEve : I love “Elizabeth Grant Takes Me to an Alcoholic Anonymous Meeting”. There is so much power in taking away an icon’s stage name—Madonna and Prince automatically come to mind—and you do it with this haunting piece. There is a similar caustic wisdom found in Undressing Lana. If you could pick a stage name, what would it be?
Megan : I try to be my most authentic self in my writing, which is why I have never had, nor ever wanted, a stage name.
SaraEve : Who are the writers that you return to over and over?
Megan : Sharon Olds. Jonathan Safran Foer. Conor Oberst.
Click here to read four poems from BAD GIRLS, HONEY @ [PANK]
Review of Bad Girls, Honey by SaraEve Fermin
So begins Megan Falley’s newest chapbook, Bad Girls, Honey, a collection of poems centered around her personal muse, music artist Lana Del Rey. The book explores a range of emotions from sadness to apathy to love, as well as experiences, such as womanhood, coming of age, sexuality and the patriarchy. These exquisitely crafted poems are a series of conversations with or directed towards the self-proclaimed ‘Queen of Coney Island’, a woman in love with the alluring beauty of fatalism, as shown in the above excerpt, a recurring theme.
In “Lana Del Rey Helps Me Decide What My Pussy Taste Like”, Falley engages in conversation with Del Rey, one that starts lighthearted with images of bright pink and cherry cola, then delves into deeper issues that plague womanhood, inherit misogyny and the world’s need to take what is not theirs:
It is a rite of passage, for us girls—to name
our salted daughters. To taste our cake
and christen it too. To find out what it answers to
when called for in the dark.
There are lots of shining summer moments in this book, but it was “Lana Del Rey Explains to Me Why She Makes Music” that made me well up. Falley taps into the part of me that wants to be a better poet. The part of me that often needs permission to be the writer I am. The part of me that writes unapologetic, broke open for this:
Why the ballerina in the music box
doesn’t run out.
The wave wants to crash to this song.
The fruit wants to rot to this song.
I am a self-admitted fan of everything Megan Falley. And Lana Del Rey. And Persona Poems. Still, don’t be fooled, these are so much more than persona— a conversation with the self, a way to use a love of music (or in this case, a muse) as a mirror. It is a reflection on society, on what Lana is saying about us. These poems have weight, are neatly arranged (Falley has impeccable line break usage), and are flashing a little pout. Waiting for you to come in for a kiss.
Bad Girls, Honey: Poems About Lana Del Rey is available from Tired Heart Press. Find it here!
Photo by Bridget Badore
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SaraEve Fermin is a performance poet and epilepsy advocate from New Jersey. An East Coast heart jumping circus trains, she is the editor-in-chief of Wicked Banshee Press. Nowadays can be found volunteering at National Poetry Slam Events. She is a Women of the World Poetry Slam Competitor and her work can be found in GERM Magazine, Drunk In A Midnight Choir, Free Verse Magazine and Transcendence among others. Her second book of poetry, The View From The Top of the Ferris Wheel, will be published by Emphat!c Press in 2015. She believes in the power of foxes and self publishing.