Love & Misadventure by Lang Leav: Reclaiming Simplicity

Love is complicated; ‘Love & Misadventure’ is not. In my opinion, it takes skill to capture such a nuanced experience so well when using such simple, plaintive prose.

Contemporary creatives like Ludovico Einaudi (a world famous composer and pianist) have reclaimed the beauty of minimalism in art. The magnificence of Einaudi’s work is that you can hear the score as it is collectively performed whilst also singularly experiencing each note as its own musical entity. You can pick out each instrument, each sound; it’s an open embrace of clarity and simplicity and it’s one I’ve quickly grown to love.

The creative world is constantly pushing the boundaries of what is, or in this case – what isn’t. It’s the negative space, the proverbial blank page. To embrace singularity as something equally complex as a metaphor or analytical fallacy prompts the question: why does artwork have to be complicated to be beautiful? This idea is constantly being debated and challenged in the art world and it’s one of the most frequent criticisms I see around the work of one of my favourite poets, Lang Leav. Some claim her work lacks substance and shows little in way of tangible skill.

Lang Leav is the winner of a Qantas Spirit of Youth Award and the coveted Churchill Fellowship. Her books are best-selling and her anthology ‘Lullabies’ was the 2014 winner of the Goodreads Choice Award for Poetry. Her first anthology ‘Love & Misadventure’ started out as a self-published collection that flew to the top of best-seller charts. Leav is renowned for her interchangeable use of rhyme and prose. She throws caution to the wind and challenges conventional expectations of poetic structure and lyricism. No piece is the same but each one encapsulates a highly particular emotion or experience; in the case of ‘Love & Misadventure’ each piece tends towards exploring love, melancholy and the problems of unrequited or lost affection.

I’ll be the first to say that Lang Leav’s work might not be for everyone; her pieces are short and as I explained previously, aren’t all that complicated or linguistically adventurous. By this I mean there’s little duality or debate of meaning. Anyone familiar with the unparalleled complexity of the mind knows how complicated and downright hard loving someone and being loved can be. For me however, that’s what makes her work so appealing. Leav is able to take these hard, painful, wonderful emotions and sum them up so eloquently and simply, in a way that conjures up such specific emotional experiences. Love is a raw, powerful emotion and Leav has managed to (like Einaudi) singularly pinpoint each nuance with a language that rejects the complicated nature of advanced, difficult prose. Love is difficult, but recognising those experiences in the works that we love doesn’t have to be, and Leav’s work doesn’t have to be complicated to be any less beautiful. Love is complicated; ‘Love & Misadventure’ is not. In my opinion, it takes skill to capture such a nuanced experience so well when using such simple, plaintive prose.

If you’re looking for something new to dig into in time for Valentine’s Day, make sure to check out Lang Leav’s work. Leav’s first novel, ‘Sad Girls’ is available to pre-order now. Visit her website for more information:

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