6/20/18 Show ft. Shivanee Ramlochan

This week’s show features the poetry of Shivanee Ramlochan and the music she’s chosen to go with her work!


Shivanee Ramlochan is a queer Trinidadian writer, critic, and book blogger. Her first collection of poems, Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting, was published in 2017 by Peepal Tree Press and was a finalist for the 2018 People’s Choice T&T Book of the Year. Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting is shortlisted for the 2018 Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection, administered by the Forward Arts Foundation. Shivanee writes about books and is in the middle of curating a QPOC Poetry Close Reading series at her blog, Novel Niche (www.novelniche.net). You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @novelniche.


Artist statement about the music in this playlist:

I’ve always seen music as adjacent to both the art and practice of making poems. I’m the least likely person to have upper-echelon musical tastes in any room. Everything can move me, from a vintage Backstreet Boys ballad to Gregorian chants. In fact, typing that made me go put on a Backstreet Boys classic! The thing is, if the song or the album’s got emotional resonance for me, that’s it, I’m sold. I’m a sucker for high-energy riffs, explosive rhythms, the judicious application of bass, eerie syncopation, heart-busting lyrics, and a killer hook. And I find that all over the place, in the sounds youths make on street corners with the percussion of their bodies, to the choir in the opera hall laying down “O Fortuna” like there’s no tomorrow. The songs I chose for these poems have lived with me a long time, and I have listened to them in all kinds of emotional weather. I picked them because they each reach into some part of me I feel only music – only the poetry of music – can access. Emeli Sandé’s utter vulnerability, Dessa’s dirgelike intonation, Laura Marling’s fey fixedness, and James Vincent McMorrow’s spectral optimism – that’s what I hear in each of these songs; that’s part of why I keep them close. Each of the songs has a specific ache, and I feel that resonance in each of these poems, too. They keep each other good company, even when it’s uneasy. I don’t take any credit for that, not even as the person who’s written the poems. I think affinities reach out to each other across disciplines, and I’m glad this music came for these poems.

  1. Heaven – Emeli Sandé 
  2. LIT: The Abortionist’s Daughter Declares Her Love
  3. Poor Atlas – Dessa 
  4. LIT: The Abortionist’s Daughter Gives Cold Comfort
  5. Devil’s Spoke – Laura Marling 
  6. LIT: The Virgin Speaks of What She Endured
  7. Desire – Anna Calvi 
  8. LIT: Fire, Fire and The Abortionist’s Granddaughter Gives Blood
  9. Higher Love – James Vincent McMorrow 




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