• Nazifa Islam

Searching for a Pulse: An Origin Story

Updated: Jul 12

I'll be the first to admit this "origin story" is rather short and maybe doesn't qualify as a "story" so much as a "vignette." But for whatever reason—poet rhythm aesthetics maybe?—I think "origin story" sounds better than "origin vignette" and so I'm going to leave the dishonest title alone.

Anyhow, enough meta-ness about this blog post.

Searching for a Pulse just had its one year anniversary (August 5th), and in light of that I decided I'd tell you a little about where the collection came from. For those who don't know, the collection is comprised of forty poems that tell one non-linear story centered around a character named Rosemary. The seed for the story came from one place.

Now I know that’s not actually true. All the elements of the story and the poems were percolating in my head for a long time before I ever committed anything to paper (or Word Document if I’m being more accurate). I’m aware of how the whole writing process works. But when I think about what made me start writing those poems, I think of the Interpol song “Evil.”

That’s probably a bit baffling. I don’t entirely understand it myself. All I know is that I was sitting in my bedroom during winter break my final year of undergrad listening to the album Antics yet again when “Evil” started playing and the opening line—“Rosemary, heaven restores you in life”—struck some weird chord. I wrote the first poem, “he had a peg leg too,” within the next hour and the rest of the poems over the course of the next two months. Fun fact: the collection is arranged in the exact order the poems were written.

I don’t expect the song to make a lot of sense to you when put next to Searching for a Pulse, but in my head it somehow does and I know that without it I wouldn’t have the collection. Or I wouldn’t have the exact collection I ended up.

So, for your listening pleasure, here is “Evil.”