Nobody writes rock geek poetry like Daniel Nester—Jessa Crispin, Bookslut


Daniel Nester hosts the Karaoke + Poetry = Fun reading series. Upcoming:
Dec 21 at Bowery Poetry Club

Saturday, January 1
St. Mark's Poetry Project
Annual New Year's Day Marathon Reading
St. Mark's Church, 131 E. 10th St., New York, NY
Saturday, January 8, 3pm
Ear Inn Poetry Series
other readers tba
326 Spring Street (west of Greenwich Street)
New York, NY
Thursday, January 13, 7pm
Barnes & Noble
Reading for Gamers
Other readers tba
106 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY
Wednesday, March 16, 7pm
The Center for Book Arts
Broadside Reading Series
with Laure-Anne Bosselaar
Limited-edition broadsides of the authors' work, letterpress printed at the Center, will be
available for sale

More:

 
 

God Save My Queen II: The Show Must Go On
God Save My Queen: A Tribute and God Save My Queen II: The Show Must Go On by Daniel Nester are books that draw from a very unliterary source: the British rock band Queen.

World famous in the 1970s for such anthems as "We Will Rock You," "We Are The Champions," "Another One Bites The Dust," and the mock-opera epic "Bohemian Rhapsody," the the rock band Queen ended its run in 1991 with the death of its flamboyant lead singer, Freddie Mercury, from AIDS. Though critically reviled, Queen's music rests in our public consciousness--in sports stadiums, TV commercials, and Wayne's World
.

But it is a source of a deeper and more personal obsession for the author, poet and journalist Daniel Nester. In God Save My Queen and God Save My Queen II, a short essay, or riff, accompanies, in order of album and track, every song recorded by the band, in chronological order. The first critically acclaimed book covers all songs until its flopped disco album, 1982's Hot Space. The sequel covers the last five studio albums, as well as selected solo work from three of the band's members. Not quite memoir, neither prose poetry nor rock book, Nester's writing takes up the space between genres, when a fan's life and object of obsession collide.

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God Save My Queen: A Tribute
All along, we learn about both the band and author through trivia, lyrics, sexual awakenings, close readings, and scholarly, footnoted thoughts. It's an essay that posits Queen as the Rosetta Stone of all of the author's knowledge, drawing connections to everyone from Liza Minelli, Leni Riefenstahl, Singin' In The Rain, Marlene Dietrich, Billie Jean King, Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury sharing an imagined kiss in 1981, even a rant on Courtney Love's giggling over Kurt Cobain's mention of Freddie Mercury in his suicide note, which she read over PA speakers to the world in 1994.

A time-honored tradition in rock and roll, the promising debut calls for a follow-up sequel. Daniel Nester, the author of the critically acclaimed God Save My Queen: A Tribute, is back with God Save My Queen II: The Show Must Go On.

A hybrid of prose poem, memoir, and liner notes, God Save My Queen II describes one record nerd's odyssey of obsession, awkwardness, and isolation as a superfan of the British rock band Queen, and ends with the tragic 1991 death of Queen's frontman, Freddie Mercury, from AIDS, and a hidden-track dream of a last concert that never was.

What this all adds up to is a reflection of the loss of heroes, trans-Atlantic love, and how pop culture can lead to very real, poetic moments. The entries for the songs in both God Save My Queen books add up to a love letter to a band, and a time when all that mattered was a record player and a pair of headphones.

They will, they will, rock you.

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God Save My Queen: A Tribute and God Save My Queen II: The Show Must Go On are both published by the Brooklyn, NY-based independent publisher Soft Skull Press