David Mura’s “liner notes”

Use the code “NAPOMO14” when ordering The Last Incantations for a special discount!

Kick Push –  Lupe Fiasco: in the piece of the same name in The Last Incantations, a teenage Chinese/Flip American skateboarder relates the story of his relationship with a Somali American girl.

American Terrorist – Lupe Fiasco:  back when people thought Lupe was the hope of hip-hop, an invocation of history and politics.

He Loves Me – Jill Scott:  “Things That Lose By Being Painted” opens with a Japanese American man and woman in a bar listening to Jill Scott.

Good Kid–Kendrick Lamar: one of my son’s favorites, a beat on his I-pod in “My Son In Ninth Grade.”

Made in America  – Toby Keith: on the jukebox in the first section of “Crystal: Down by the Border.”

Yadava Niba  – Tony Khalife: great Lebanese American guitarist, whose story I reference in “Peter Wu’s Poem.”  I first met Tony at a reading where Elmaz Abinader read with Tony and an Arab American jazz trio and I read with San Jose Taiko.

What’s Goin’ On – Marvin Gaye: the backdrop for the poem, “Song for an Asian American Radical,” which is about the activist Yuri Kochiyama; her friendship with Malcolm X is referenced in “Poem for Patricia Smith Upon My Nomination for the Urban Griots Award.

Begin the Beguine  – Ella Fitzgerald: I think of my father listening to “Begin the Beguine” in his youth; it’s associated with “The Great Nisei Novel, circa 1949.”

A Love Supreme – John Coltrane: the Chinese American artist in “Abstract Expressionist” listens to Coltrane as he paints.

Boom Boom Boom  – John Lee Hooker: in “Poets of My Youth,” I reference Hooker playing at a bar where I met a woman who claimed she slept with John Berryman; members of Hooker’s band once showed up at a party I was having on the West Bank in Minneapolis.

One Wish – Hiroshima: Garrett Hong once joked that I and Hiroshima constantly try to use Sansei, third generation Japanese American, in our titles.

Incidental Noyes: Christina Pughes

Christina Pugh’s latest collection, Grains of the Voiceis steeped in music, so her playlist speaks to both #NaPoMo and #recordstoreday. Enjoy!

https://play.spotify.com/user/northwesternup/playlist/3xpJzf6OAmAmcZH1kmrO9e

Christina on her list:

“The songs on this list play cameo roles in Grains of the Voice,often appearing as a single line or phrase taken from their lyrics.  Like the fireworks on the book’s cover, these borrowed lines are flashes of melody or harmony within the poems.  If readers know the songs, I hope these lyric “glimpses” will trigger a moment of remembered music.  I’m also convinced that such remembered lines affect how we think – and how we experience beauty in the world.  

Taken together, all of these songs form an eclectic soundscape and a backdrop for the book’s exploration of voice, both spoken and sung.   The songs’ eclecticism speaks to my own intuitive (undisciplined?) listening history and my wish, as a poet, to put contrasting or dissonant sounds together:  to make music in that way.   The same goes for cultural references — I’d like Shakespeare and Sinatra to live together in the same room, in a marriage of true love rather than irony.  Finally, I should add that Neil Young and Emmylou Harris were the patron saints of this book — the very definition, for me, of what “grains of the voice” means.”


NUP is pleased to introduce a semi-regular feature “Incidental Noyes,” in which we ask our authors, employees at the press, and friends of the press to share playlists of music that inspires them or that might be found playing in the background when they write. First up is poet and NUP Poetry Editor and Sales Manager Parneshia Jones. As you might imagine from her title, she juggles many projects. This classic, yet diverse, list reflects her wide-ranging interests.


NUP is pleased to introduce a semi-regular feature “Incidental Noyes,” in which we ask our authors, employees at the press, and friends of the press to share playlists of music that inspires them or that might be found playing in the background when they write. First up is poet and NUP Poetry Editor and Sales Manager Parneshia Jones. As you might imagine from her title, she juggles many projects. This classic, yet diverse, list reflects her wide-ranging interests.