Review: Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass by Lana Del Rey

Review: Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass by Lana Del Rey

©Simon & Schuster

The genre: Poetry

The gist: Poems about love, LA, feeling lost, and finding yourself.

The background: Not much except that I should probably give a heads up that I’m biased as a fan of Lana Del Rey’s music, so when I heard she was putting out a poetry collection last year I figured I’d like it.

The tea: The poems in this book read to me like the more elevated version of Tumblr poetry—you know, those overly simplistic poems that are more like statements with lots of line breaks that suddenly transform them into something “deep”—but here’s how I actually mean that as a compliment:

I like the accessibility of these kinds of poems. I don’t think a poem needs to be an inscrutable puzzle or have layers and layers of meaning to be effective.

While Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass is more mature and insightful than Tumblr poetry, the poems have the same kind of approachability and give you something to latch onto when reading. They’re about relatable situations, like getting over someone, moving to a new city, the current state of the world.

Plus, I like that lines like, “Sugar sugar lips and teeth / fingertips touch emojis” speak to present-day love and intimacy; sure, a letter or phone call is easier to romanticize than pressing a button to send a digital heart to your lover—that’s why I appreciate artists who embrace this aspect of modern living and can make it sound just as romantic.

Accompanying the typewriter-page poems are lo-fi, brightly filtered photos of LA taken by Del Rey. The whole package might come off as artsy hipster overkill if it weren’t so predictably on-brand for Lana Del Rey, and why fix what works? It’s a pretty aesthetic.

The wrap-up: Reading through these reflective and dreamily worded poems while glancing at the hazy LA visuals isn’t a bad way to spend an afternoon or two. Especially if you like contemporary poetry or Lana’s music.

The rating: ⭐⭐⭐/5

May my eyes always stay level to the horizon, may they never gaze as high as heaven to ask why

May I never go where angels fear to tread, so as to have to ask for answers in the sky

The whys in this lifetime I’ve found are inconsequential compared to the magic of nowness– the solution to most questions

there are no reasons, and if there are– i’m wrong

but at least i won’t have spent my life waiting

looking for God in the clouds of the dawn

—Lana Del Rey, Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass