1. Beyoncé has a spread in this month’s CR Fashion Book, which showcases photos alongside a poem called “Bey The Light.” (CR is former Vogue Paris editor-in-chief Carine Roitfeld’s new magazine.)
2. The poem is credited as having “words by Beyoncé,” as “remixed” by poet Forrest Gander. The poem was created from an interview Beyoncé gave to Dominic Teja Sidhu and Christopher Bartley.
3. BuzzFeed spoke with poet Gander about the process of creating the poem and what it means to “remix” Beyoncé’s words.
4. “I took the interview and, keeping close to her original language, but sometimes altering it for formal reasons, juxtaposed selected phrases to create a rhythm that I felt expresses the almost stark sincerity of Beyoncé’s tone in the interview.”
5. “I use a rhyme pattern and line break to give it a musical tension that, considering how many interviews Beyoncé has done, her spoken responses can’t maintain.”
6. “So I made a poem based on Beyoncé’s commentary. It just gives a different dimension and perhaps sharpness to what we’re used to seeing as representative of Beyoncé’s remarks.”
“It introduces Beyoncé into a new theater, where she’s less-well known: the literary,” Gander added. “So she’s continuing to expand her boundaries.”
7. Gander also explained that Beyoncé did not know her interview would be turned into a poem at the time.
“When Beyoncé gave the interview, she did NOT know it might be transformed,” Gander told BuzzFeed. “That came about through the creative intuition of Dominic. She’s done so many interviews— how could this one be distinctive? I think that’s what he was thinking.”
Gander added that his creation from the interview source material was only given one edit: “After I gave Dominic the poem and he showed it to Beyoncé, there was one specific suggestion that was made— not sure if it was Beyoncé’s or Dominic’s— and it was a good one and I made a change.”
8. Read the full poem below:
“Bey the Light”
Remixed by Forrest Gander
It’s my daughter, she’s my biggest muse.
There’s someone, we all find out soon,
more important than ourselves to lose.
I feel a deep bond with young children –
all those photos in my dressing room –
especially those who’ve been stricken,
Children I’ve met across the years –
they uplift me like pieces of moon,
and guide me, whispering in my ear
I’m turned to spirits, the emotions of others.
And I feel her presence all the time
though I never met my grandmother.
I learned at a very young age,
when I need to tap some extra strength,
to put my persona, Sasha, on stage.
Though we’re different as blue and red,
I’m not afraid to draw from her
in performance, rifts, even in bed.
I saw a TV preacher when I was scared,
at four or five, about bad dreams,
who promised he’d say a prayer
If I put my hand to the TV.
That’s the first time I remember prayer,
an electric current humming through me.
You call me a singer, but I’m called to transform,
to suck up the grief, anxiety, and loss
of those who hear me into my song’s form.
I’m a vessel for all that isn’t right,
for break-ups and lies and double-cross.
I sing into that vessel a healing light.
To let go of pain that people can’t bear.
I don’t do that myself, I call in the light.
I summon God to take me there.
Utopias, they don’t much interest me.
I always mess things up a bit.
It’s chaos, in part, that helps us see.
But for my daughter I dream a day
when no one roots for others to fail,
when we all mean what we say.