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Lana Del Rey's poetry debut review – sometimes cliche, always solipsistic

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Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass, released as an audiobook this week and in print in September, is a reminder of the singer’s strengths and shortcomings

Lana Del Rey has a decided aesthetic: a kitsch, drag queen femininity, always heartbroken, always nostalgic for 1950s California. From early albums such as Born to Die and Ultraviolence, to her latest Norman Fucking Rockwell!, all her music sounds kind of the same. I’m OK with that; it’s camp, it’s silly, it’s a mood.

When her debut poetry collection, Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass, was announced, I wasn’t surprised that Del Rey had poetic aspirations. In her 2019 song, hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but I have it, Del Rey refers to herself “tearing around in my fucking nightgown / a 24-7 Sylvia Plath”. This is the fun of her work, combining high Americana (in Young and Beautiful) with a lackadaisical, millennial nihilism (see Fucked My Way Up to the Top).

Related: Lana Del Rey's swipes at her peers of colour undermine her feminist argument | Laura Snapes

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