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Now Playing: a Spotify Soundtrack for Rail

Hello readers! Today is the official publication of Rail by Kai Carlson-Wee, and Kai sent us a special playlist of songs that inspired his work. 

Listen to the playlist on Spotify and read Kai's liner notes below. Enjoy!

A note from Kai Carlson-Wee:

Most of the poems in RAIL were started while I was traveling. They typically began as scraps of sound, lyrics I jotted down, images, impressions, which I then cobbled together later on. Obviously the poems I was reading would fuel the sound, but just as often the music I was listening to would influence the writing. The way I listen to music is sort of obsessive. When I find a certain song I like, I listen to it on repeat for weeks. The soundtrack I’ve made here is composed of songs I listened to repeatedly during the 10 years I was writing RAIL. For instance, when I was living in a garage in Bellingham, Washington, I would bike around town listening to “Halah” by Mazzy Star. When I was traveling in Europe I listened to Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” over and over. When I was living in New York in 2007 (when I wrote the first poems in the book) I was listening to “I Dream a Highway” by Gillian Welch. The song “Forget About” by Sibylle Baier inspired the poem Secret Air. The Johnny Cash version of “Hurt” was actually sung by some friends and I in the poem Northtown Choir. The lyrics from “White Freightliner Blues” by Townes Van Zandt are used as an epigraph to the book. If I was being comprehensive, this soundtrack would be much much longer, but the songs I’ve included here are some personal favorites and represent personal ties to the poems. 


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