Clad in simple chic black, Lang Leav sits composedly in a golden-brown lounge chair for an interview with UrbanWire. Her signature bangs and regal presence are subtle hints that there’s more than meets the eye to this poet.
What began as an innocuous Tumblr post burgeoned into a trend overnight. Like any beautiful photo on the blogging/publishing platform, 2 simple lines of poetry from Lang Leav can easily receive 1,000 likes and reblogs within a day. Since the social media phenomenon 2 years ago, Leav has moved on to pen the best-selling poetry book Love & Misadventure.
Fast forward to present day, Leav has just released her second book Lullabies. The New Zealander cemented her name in publishing history with a ‘Best Poetry’ win at the Goodreads Choice Award 2014.
“I was writing lots of poetry because of what has happened with social media and Love & Misadventure, [where] things became successful. I just kept writing everyday and before I knew it, I had a book,” expressed Leav in an Aussie twang on her first brush with poetry and the overwhelming fame and success thereafter.
If reading Love & Misadventure depicts an emotional rollercoaster ride, then Lullabies feels like being on the monster ride of all that makes the brave go weak. It travels through a longer route, yet amidst all the thrills, it’s a satisfying ride with intense heart-dropping moments. Readers can expect more prose featured in Leav’s second book, with each piece capturing love’s intricacy and essence.
The navy-blue book begins with ‘Duets’, followed by ‘Interlude’ and the ‘Finale’, much akin to a performance. In fact, there’s even an encore, which makes up 6 excerpts in Love & Misadventure.
“I think I’ve grown as a writer and because of that, the work [Lullabies] is a lot more mature in its tone. Whereas Love & Misadventure is a lot more light-hearted, sort of fun. This one is a lil’ bit more serious,” explained Leav.
Love; a universal language
Most curious readers love to ask Leav this common question – why love?
She said: “It’s just something that I’ve always written about actually, ever since I was a teenager. I guess it’s such an important part of our lives and it’s something that really occupies your mind.”
Be it eloquent metaphors or simple words, readers are able to relate to Leav’s poems, despite having little or adverse knowledge in poetry. A poet who “used to write Shakespeare fan-fic” when she studied art at the College of Fine Arts in Sydney, other poets such as Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost contributed to her influences as well.
“If you go through life and experienced what it’s like, you can use your empathy and imagination,” enthused Leav.
Leav’s voice is as melodious as her poetry, as she explained the meaning behind Sad Things, one of her poems in Love & Misadventure. “In every single love story, there’s always an ending. It’s beautiful and it’s sad. Even marriages have ‘till death do us part’, so there’s always a parting.” As if reciting a poem at a poetry slam or reading session, she paused and remained silent for a while as she let the gravity of the words sink in.
From lovebirds to soulmates
Leav believes in soulmates, having found hers 5 years ago.
Partner-in-poetry Michael Faudet is another captivating poet who shares his works with Leav. Writing pieces of poems for each other becomes a habit. “Every Sunday he’d write something for me, [and] I’d write something for him.”
As I urged the humble Leav to reveal the anecdote behind Sundays With Michael, a smile lit up her face. Leav appeared to be more than happy to share..
“That poem brought into the whole feeling of when you’re starting out in a relationship and it’s just the beginning. Your partner goes away and you’ve got a lil’ bit of anxiety, so you hope that he will be safe. That anxiety you feel, it’s natural,” she exclaimed, as if she’s fallen in love for the first time.
Similar to the type of poems Leav writes, Faudet’s writing also revolves around poems and prose. “Michael writes really beautiful poems and short stories. We’ve always had a similar aesthetic in our writing, that’s how we met and got together,” Leav shared, her eyes sparkling each time she mentioned his name.
The pair of lovebirds is into their 5th year of being together. She said: “Oh, we don’t remember anniversaries. We’re terrible with dates!” She went on to explain how they keep things special. “It’s special everyday. We just enjoy being together, we laugh a lot and we like talking, we just like hanging out together.”
When probed if marriage was on the cards for them, Leav erupted into laughter before she replied, “Yes! It’s something we’ve talked about. You know, we always say we’re unofficially engaged. We will, at some stage. When it feels right, we’ll probably just do something.”
Leav seems to be enjoying the process of creating more write-ups. Apart from revealing that she is in the midst of working on her third book, Leav shared, “I’m about halfway through a novel, so it’s really exciting.” She unfortunately did not reveal much to avoid spoiling the element of surprise.
Could the novel be about romance? Or a tragic love story? Whatever the prose, millions of fans will be eagerly anticipating her next stab at a book that will lift our hearts a little with hopes and dreams of lost love and new crushes.
Rather than a typical love story, there will be more awaiting the readers.
Connect with Lang Leav and share your thoughts with her via her Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook.
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Photography courtesy of Shermane Eng/Klix Photography