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Spiny-Finger Blues

A Poem by Nina G


A Statement by Nina G on her process


I am a writer impassioned by the strange and fantastical, the musical and the playful, and the binaries between the worlds we can and cannot see. I write about stories because I love them just as much. Whether it is in the form of love poems, ancestral fireflies, or ghosts filling spaces in surprising ways, I adore the art of discovery in the act of writing. My process can be described as attuning to my own feelings and experiences, scenes magically playing out in my mind as I walk, and asking myself what if. What if there are ghosts obsessed with the blues? What if that is a tune I too wish to know? Beyond being able to explore the gothic and uncanny with “Spiny-Finger Blues,” it is also a poem expressing the visuality of music. Whether that is through how a song paints a picture in your mind or the physical aspect of looking at a musical score sheet, it felt like the perfect way to experiment with form. By implementing brackets and utilizing my poetic lines as if they were staff, I was inspired by musical score sheets and my love for how music and poetry collide.


Take this example from the father of the Blues, W. C. Handy’s, ‘Beale Street.’ 












Copyright MCMXVII by Pace & Handy Music Co. Inc., 1547, Broadway, New York City. From the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, Duke University,


It’s beautiful and brings musical and textual language together in a way that asked me what if I made my own poetic resemblance of a musical score sheet dedicated to the ghosts who are fond of the blues? In other words, how do I explore the endless possibilities that music and the gothic allow? 


This is the story that motivates the “Spiny-Finger Blues,” and that pushes me to keep writing more. 

Back to BoundBy: November '23 (Edition #6)

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