At the Paris Review, Kendra Allen shares the inspiration behind her new poetry collection, The Collection Plate, including her obsession with closely reading music lyrics. “I literally would not be writing anything if I was not obsessed with reading lyrics. I think that’s what sparked my interest in creative writing. So many of my greatest memories are me in the car listening to a specific song or me buying a CD and just replaying it over and over and over. […] Music has sustained me with something to write about. I can always find a line in any song and make a prompt out of it and apply it to my own life.
“In the twenty-first century, the lyric essay at its worst is a utility or an app; at its best, it’s a cross-hatch of a genre in which things cross over; implicitly chiasmic, it’s a space in which incompatible discourses are allowed to intermingle; wherein poetry and prose create productive frictions, enabling a new, unnatural form, illegible and readable for the first time.” Mary Cappello writes about the lyric essay and Djuna Barnes.