Mixtape, Kerri French: Songs to Write To Mix

Kerri French’s poetry has been featured on SIRIUS Satellite Radio, and have appeared or are forthcoming in Barrow Street, The American Poetry Journal, DIAGRAM, and Best New Poets 2008, among other places. Her poems “Amy Winehouse Facing Assault Charges after Night Out” and “On the Verge of Success, Amy Winehouse Visits Fortune Teller” appear in Artifice Issue 2.

Hazel Dickens: A Few Old Memories

I first heard Hazel Dickens’ music while taking a history of country music course as an undergraduate student at UNC. I then spent an entire summer exclusively listening to her albums while driving on Highway 54 between Chapel Hill and Greensboro, composing poems in my head. These days, I live in England and write poems about that drive while taking the train to work.   

Wanda Jackson: You Know I’m No Good

Wanda Jackson covering Amy Winehouse? Yes, please. After writing a series of poems on Amy Winehouse, I must admit that I’m a bit Winehouse-ed out—but this version of her song I can fully get behind.

Elliott Smith: Jealous Guy

More often than not, I veer toward listening to sad music while I write, so much so that it has become somewhat of a crutch. As if Elliott Smith’s music wasn’t already sad enough, this John Lennon cover is especially heartbreaking.  

Neko Case: This Tornado Loves You

I pretty much kept Neko Case playing on repeat while editing poems for my thesis. 

Leonard Cohen: Famous Blue Raincoat

I discovered Leonard Cohen when I was fifteen, not long after I began to write the first of many awkward teenage poems. This song contributed to a particularly melancholy string of poems—I’m pretty sure one poem even quoted a fragment of the lyrics. Like I said, awkward.   

Ryan Adams: Oh My Sweet Carolina

All the sweetest winds they blow across the South.

The longer I’m away, the more poems I write about my home state.

The Marvelettes: Please Mr. Postman

Before we were married, my husband and I spent a year apart. With an ocean between us, I spent most of my evenings writing. I began to think of my poems as letters I would never mail, the soundtrack to those nights reflecting the sense of longing and hurry I felt. 

Patti Smith: Pissing in a River

I listened to this song obsessively throughout high school and have recently returned to it while reading Smith’s Just Kids memoir. It’s just sad enough to serve as the perfect background song to play while editing poems you can’t remember ever writing.  

The Pipettes: Pull Shapes

The quintessential ‘take a break from editing and dance around the living room’ song.

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