Patricia Calzo Vega examines the world of Lang Leav for Fully Booked Zine.
In stark contrast to the layered cultural references, the veneer of madcap and mayhem, and the polished finish of Akina’s world and her visual artworks, Leav’s verses are sparse, self-referential, and tentative (sometimes to the point of feeling incomplete). Like short verses scribbled off the cuff and sent off with nary a glance—a distinct possibility, given their social media origins; Leav was also known to respond to poem requests left in her ask box. Emily Dickinson is an acknowledged and quite obvious stylistic influence, and her partner, Michael Faudet—also an artist and poet—is both muse and collaborator.
Emotion it has in spades, and is laid bare for everyone to see. Love and Misadventure tackles the entire breadth of experience of a young person awakening to love: solitary musings of unrequited feeling, the comfort of phantom lovers, the transitory nature of relationships, the bitterness of heartbreak and regret, and, finally, the delirious joy of finding love and discovering its pleasures. Perhaps the experience of watching this story unfurl online, as Leav relived loves and imagined in verse, made readers invested in the outcome and seeing her happy ending.
Originally published February-March 2014.