Happy Labor Day Weekend! Three Poems, and a Feel Good Song: Shout by Donna Lewis

The LA Times recently announced its Op-Ed Poetry Winners. Its editors picked many great pieces. I liked three in particular:  "Untitled Haiku" by R. Daniel Foster"LA Veggie (W)rap" by Marilyn Campbell, and "Adjunct Plight" by Brian Fanelli.

Foster's and Campbell's poems are studies in humor and economy. Both of their contributions work as sharp and well-timed pieces of humor writing complete with good concluding punch lines.

Fanelli's poem is a slightly different beast, and I don't quite agree with how it conflates the mistreatment of adjuncts with that of factory workers and undocumented workers; as a part-time college teacher, I don't feel these professions and experiences are synonymous, each breeding unique problems. That said, its central premise (and refrain)--"we work cheap, settle easily"--intrigues me, and through it the poet raises interesting and important concerns about how adjuncts are valued in the current academic system.

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I've also been thinking about Donna Lewis' music. Like a lot of one-hit wonders (a title that may or may not apply to Lewis, depending on how you look at her charting singles), her music has gone undervalued outside of her major radio hit, "I Love You Always Forever." Yet, she's written many solid tracks, often integrating ambient, dance, and pop music. There is plenty of interesting material in her discography--material I will explore in a later post--but for now I thought I would leave you with her single, "Shout," from her most recent album, In the Pink, which she independently released in 2008.

"Shout" works a formula Lewis has long mastered. It's a charming, optimistic celebration of love featuring breathy vocals, a melodic chorus, and a soft but danceable production. The subtle track reveals its hooky-ness and feel-good pop aesthetic over multiple listens, and the song holds up all the better for it. Much of its success is due to Lewis' warm delivery and her choice to fill the production with acoustic guitars, which lend a homey feel. The irony that such a gentle song is called "Shout" makes it all the more delightful--a wink of humor that works as the cherry on top of a sweet treat of a single.

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