Writer in Residence

Smoky Garden Songs - a playlist for writing

By Teva Harrison

So much of writing is creating the right mood, the right place. Do you need absolute silence? Do you like a bustling coffee shop?

Well, I asked Damian Rogers, whose recent book of poetry Dear Leader blew me away with its emotional truth and resonance (not to mention, it's been shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award), and who also has excellent taste in music, if she would create a playlist for writing.

Thus Smoky Garden Songs were born.

This is music that will transport you. Either you will write up a storm or you will be kickstarted into living a more poetic life. Then you can write about that. 

I put together a YouTube playlist so you can just hit play and go, but if you fall in love with the music, here is my humble plea: go out and buy that beautiful record. Then you can love it forever.

Which is how I feel about Damian's poetry, too. 

Click here for a continuous playlist on YouTube:


And here's the tracklist if you'd like to use it as a shopping guide right now:

“Ban the Bomb” by The Fugs

“Tous les garcons et les filles” by Francoise Hardy

“She Lives (In a Time of Her Own)” by 13th Floor Elevators

“Black Forest Myth (Live)” By Sun Ra, The Sun Ra Arkestra

“You Don’t Have to Be” by Jennifer Castle

“The First Garden” by Stevie Wonder

“#14” by AroarA

“Cloud Rider” by The Sadies

“Been Smoking too Long” by Nick Drake

“Rainbows” by Dennis Wilson

“Interstellar Overdrive” by Pink Floyd

“Canyon Ride” by Beachwood Sparks

“You Ain’t Going Nowhere” Bob Dylan, The Band (Basement Tapes)

“Young Girl Blues” by Marianne Faithfull

"Holy High" Ghost

"Elephant Candy" The Fun & Games

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book.

Teva Harrison is a writer and graphic artist. She is the author of the critically acclaimed graphic memoir, In-Between Days, which is based on her graphic series about living with cancer published in The Walrus. It was named one of the most anticipated books of 2016 by the Globe and Mail, which also named the author one of 16 Torontonians to Watch. She has commented on CBC Radio and in the Globe and Mail about her experience. Numerous health organizations have invited her to speak publicly on behalf of the metastatic cancer community. She lives in Toronto.