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Faber Radio Presents:
Maggie Millner's Couplets

By Faber Editor, 9 March 2023

Listen to Maggie Millner’s playlist of songs that appear in Couplets: A Love Story, her debut about one woman’s coming-out, coming-of-age, and coming-undone.
Maggie Millner Headshot

This is a motley bunch of songs that appear in Couplets, or that informed its writing in some way. I’ve decided not to labor over the playlist itself, because I’ll get terribly emotional if I listen too deeply or repetitively to these songs, all of which I know by heart already anyway. Music is like that: full of fugitive meanings known to the listener alone. The opening track of this playlist transports me to Mexico City in 2018, sitting on a bus beside my brother, on the edge of a form of knowledge it would take me years to speak out loud. Every song here is similarly bound up in a particular place and time.

Music makes me nostalgic, so I can’t write much about it without resorting to platitudes. Then again, the best pop lyrics have a tinge of schlock and melodrama, which is what makes them purr. I think of Akon singing, ‘Nobody wanna see us together, but it don’t matter, no.’ Or Miley crooning, ‘You take me higher than I’ve been before. Don’t laugh when I say that ’cause we just smoked a bowl.’ Or Julia Michaels rhyming ‘problems’ and ‘solve ’em’, over and over. You can get away with clichés in song lyrics that would never work in page-bound poetry, partly because of the emphasis on rhythm and sound, partly because of the leavening agent of melody. That’s much of what I love about these songs, I think: the baldness of their proclamations. Their shameless sentiment. Their schmaltz.

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Maggie Millner
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An electrifying love story about one woman’s coming-out, coming-of-age, and coming-undone.

About the Author

Maggie Millner was born and raised in rural upstate New York. She teaches writing at Yale and is a senior editor at the Yale Review. Her poems have appeared in the New Yorker, the Paris Review and Poetry. Couplets is her first book.

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About the Author
Maggie Millner Author