Writing about bands and music is hard. It’s one of those things that seems like it should be easy because love for music is so innate. Well, try it sometime. I was in a band in high school and we played with as much earnestness as you can at 16 and 17 years old. We put everything we had into that band. And yet, whenever I try to write about that experience I become deeply embarrassed—not because of the time spent doing it—but because I can’t make it feel authentic. It comes off sounding like a dad trying to look cool. But when someone nails it you can feel that sweet spot where they’ve balanced the raw emotion and nostalgia. Adrienne Novy hits this balance in Crowd Surfing with God. I was immediately impressed by how she is able weave this element so naturally into her poetry. I can taste the sweat and feel the heat from the crowd. We’re are put in the middle of the pit and it feels real and true. It took me back to high school, you know, when I was in a band. But it instead took me back to my favorite moment during those years: being tucked into the crowd, looking up and seeing my best friends on stage.
& this was the first blessing to Helena that faded out like a song & the prayers ended with so long & goodnight & god stayed alive for another night & then another night & then another night & that meant the night was good & the terrors stopped & the plugs sparked & stadiums crackled with light & life carried on & it was good & it was good & it was so fucking good.
I also loved how this collection turned into something so much more than just appreciating music. It takes a turn and goes into Novy’s struggles, along with her strength to overcome those rough patches, ultimately ending with as open question. There is no concrete resolution at the end because none of our lives have them. It felt like she was shouting into the void, and I hope she knows an echo came back saying: Of course we’ll love you.