Meet Lang Leav, whose social media presence is consistent and intimate, even if her poems serve as shallow reflections of typical young adult angst.
It's becoming quite a challenge for physical books to remain relevant in a world where tablets and e-readers dominate the plain text of paper, but Leav is one of several authors who have taken advantage of a growing social media community in order to connect directly with fans.
A native Australian artist who mainly writes poems and paints, Leav has accounts on every platform imaginable, including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr. With daily updates on each, Leav's work gets delivered to around 20,000 boards, dashboards and timelines with each new post. This is how her new book, "Love & Misadventure," came into existence.
The book is a collection of poems accompanied by intricate illustrations, both produced by Leav herself. The poet had been "publishing" her works online and swiftly gained a huge fan base, opening the door for her 78-page book to be officially published. "Love & Misadventure" is currently available in all major bookstores.
The majority of the poems, each fitting on a single page, are short and sweet, but their content is anything but. With just a few words, Leav combines a set of terms that accurately portrays the difficulties that arise in passionate, unadulterated love and in turn, exemplifies the petty, over-emotional behavior that most often comes with it.
Each poem either falls under the subtitles of Misadventure, The Circus of Sorrows, and Love, in that order. Although the division of poems is smart, there is a loss of a common theme between each, causing an unnecessary break from poem to poem. Each piece could easily fit into a different subtitle, although, the breaks do provide for a momentary respite from the painful accuracy that Leav's words speak. She fills the spaces with her own artwork, which loses its pizzazz when printed in gray ink that barely shows detail.
In the poem "Mornings With You," Leav writes, "I slowly wake / as day is dawning, / to fingertips / and lips imploring. / The sheets against my skin, / he says, / like wrapping paper / on Christmas morning." Her balance in the structure of the poem is safe, and repeated in other poems in the collection, but the content is built around forced similes that are unnecessary. Though clever, the lines fail to flow and only introduce themes that muddle the real meaning behind the stanzas.
Leav's poetry could be a sister to Taylor Swift's song lyrics; the undeniable relevancy of the poems scream for attention particularly from young women who struggle with romance and are infatuated by any boy band.
"Love and Misadventure," as proven by the answers Leav writes in response to fan questions on Tumblr, is written from an autobiographical perspective, which at some points of the book becomes overwhelming. Poetry, like any other piece of writing, is best when it comes from the heart. Leav sometimes takes that literally, transforming a love poem to the ghastly reality of romance and relationships, and for pessimists, a staggering desire to chuck the book at the wall.
"Sundays with Michael," is a poem about her fellow poet/artist boyfriend (or lover, as she likes to call him) Michael Faudet, who she also dedicates half of the book to, "The half of this book – the whole of my heart." The poem is longer than most and keeps a flow and rhythm, yet still portrays an achingly charming liaison, and Leav continues the cliché that "love only exists in poems."
This hopeless romantic has done well with her social media presence and thoroughly appeals to her audience, which unfortunately is a strict range of females aging from 17 to 25. At times her poems are too dainty and too controlled, not being able to fully connect with the messages and evoke emotion. Yet they perpetuate the fantasy of a paralyzing romance that every teen pop star has brainwashed young girls into believing with every cutesy, petty album they release.