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Painted Jay Publishing header image
Painted Jay Publishing header image

Songs in Search of a Tune

full book cover for Songs in Search of a Tune

Songs in Search of a Tune is a collection of lyric poetry from a time of exquisite longing, a portrait of a mid-journey, misdirected and deeply felt. Written by a synesthetic visual artist, this book compliments the artistic impulse more often expressed in painting, when only words will do. 54 lyric poems, plus extensive bonus material, comprise this new, hot-off-the-press, 117-page volume.

Painted Jay Publishing, LLC
Author: Alexandria Levin
ISBN: 978-0-9743267-4-0
$14.99 US
First Edition
Published 2018

Book and cover design: Alexandria Levin
Front Cover painting: ‘Crab Rabbit’ © 2004, Alexandria Levin
Back Cover painting: ‘Broken Coyote’ © 2007, Alexandria Levin

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Included lyric poems

If You Are Something • Pile • Thirteen Days Into Spring • Stealing Flags • The Palmetto Bug Incident • Driving Home • Ivy Lied • The Roadkill Raisin • Oceanic • The Narberth Hum • Spiraling • On the So-Called Emergence of an Artist • Hey Radiator • A Window on the Situation • Lonely Old Sun • Soak Away • Cross That Thing Out • The Devil’s Highway • One After Another • Sneakers in the Sunlight • Dogwood Days • Time • Little Mouse • Realize This • Jester of Love • Hermit Moon • Pretty Path to Nowhere • Summer Oh Five • Twenty Five Years • Fed Up • One Hairball Grape • Ice Cream Overboard • El Tostador • Caraway Seed • Occidental Accident • Agua Vida • Aubergine • Tashlich • Dislocation as in Luxation • Pieces of Pavement / Searching for Zuzax • The Lagomorphic Well • Synesthetic Melody • Rock Dove Love • Cabin Fever • Pineapple • Leaving • Two-Leaf Clover • The Underside of the Divide • Lone Tree in a Thunderstorm • Seven Times Seven • Continental Drift • Any Room You Choose • Bite the Bullet • Go

Click here for the full-size PDF front and back cover.

cropped painting by Alexandria Levin

Inspiration and process

When it comes to poetry, I am deeply inspired by song lyrics more than anything else. As a young teenager, with vinyl spinning, something inside me was sparked and pen was put to notebook paper. I never once questioned the motivation or the desire. I just wrote... And continued to write. Sometimes, the muses demand my attention, and I swear I am only channeling for them. Other times, I really have to work at it, and a good poem can sometimes take months to feel complete.

This is what happens... An idea will spark, a string of words will appear inside my head, and they will insist on being taken further. I often turn to free writing to coax more word-thoughts and word-images to come into being. At some point, a pattern might emerge, and I then design a framework for the words. If there is no pattern, I let the piece remain unstructured. As long as there is flow, either way is fine with me. When I think of these poems as song lyrics, I imagine a music whose verses are not the least bit confined to the typical song structure.

As both a poet and a painter, I am in love with metaphor and allegory, and I am enraptured by the magic that comes with a certain turn of phrase that is not easy to attain. My subject matter is both auto-biographical and observational, usually with something to say. Sometimes there is clarity, and sometimes the word-imagery is more abstract, conveying a sensibility and a mood, rather than a clear message.

As I put this page together, I recently performed poetry for the very first time. I have become interested in finding new ways to present poems to an audience, whether through unique forms of performance-based poetry, or intertwining poetic verse with visual art in various modes, such as mixed-media installation pieces. The creative gears are now turning. This is a very exciting time.

Biographette as a poet

I have been writing lyric poetry since the age of 15. Poetry submissions and publishing began with high school literary journals, and then went nationwide, beginning with a youth-oriented publication known as 'People Soup'. My first reading was an epic poem I wrote for my artist’s talk at an exhibition in the 1990s. In another exhibition, I placed printed poetry on the walls between every few paintings. For another, instead of submitting artwork at all, I read poetry at the reception.

During 2011, I co-founded and co-hosted a weekly online live-blog poetry post called ‘Indigo Kalliope’. Over the years, I have continued to read and publish, albeit sporadically... Until moving to Oregon in 2016. The following year, I picked up the pace of reading poetry in public, with open mic events and scheduled readings, including performance-based, song-cycle spoken-word sorts of things. There will be more readings and performances to come once this pandemic abates.

In June 2018, I finally realized a decade-long dream of publishing my first volume of poetry. The second volume is nearing completion at this time, and will be published later in 2022. And, of course, I have other volumes in the early planning stages, soon to be realized.