Three Questions With Memphis from THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray

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Friends, I am SUCH a fan girl for THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray. No joke, it is my favorite of all the books I’ve read by Libba Bray so far (although I haven’t read Going Bovine yet). It is an honor and a thrill to have Memphis, one of the main characters, here for an interview.

Memphis Quote The Diviners

1. Reading can really shape a writer. As you are a poet, Memphis, what are you currently reading? Who are your influences?

MEMPHIS: I’ve always been partial to the poems of Mr. Walt Whitman, myself. “Passing stranger! You do not know how longingly I look upon you a glorious phrase. But the minute I read The Weary Blues by Mr. Langston Hughes, I felt something stir in my soul. Sweet blues! Coming from a black man’s soul. Poetry doesn’t just make me feel; it makes me think, too. It’s like the words carve out a secret space inside your heart and fill it with the hope that you’re connected to every living thing.

2. Your best friend, Gabriel, plays horn and is looking to play with Count Basie’s Orchestra, as someone who hangs out at the Hotsy Totsy, you must really like jazz. What makes jazz the cat’s particulars?

MEMPHIS: Jazz feels like Harlem, like home. All that energy spinning out and back, the hot licks, the cutting contests it’s like Mr. Whitman writing, “I sing the body electric!” Jazz is the pulse of the streets: the rumble of the El, folks rushing to work and home again, old men laughing outside Floyd’s Barber Shop, little kids running up the hill, it just makes a fella feel like anything’s possible. Anything at all. It’s like when I take my girl out under the stars. Folks don’t think there are stars in Manhattan because of all the lights. But they’re there, keeping watch, twinkling to their own rhythm.

3. Word on the street is that Harlem is hitting on all the sixes. Why do you think that is?

MEMPHIS: Come take a walk around and you’ll see why. We could catch a basketball game over at the Renaissance Ballroom on Seventh Avenue, dance the Charleston and the Black Bottom at the Savoy Ballroom, or see a play performed by the Krigwa Players at the 135th Street Library, one of my favorite places to be. We could play the numbers in the morning and listen to Gabe wailing at the Hotsy Totsy come evening. I’ll tell you a secret: Sometimes, I like to stand outside Miss Lelia Walker’s townhouse on 136th Street and watch the writers and artists go inside for one of her famous salons. I hope to be there myself someday.

I guess you’d call me a romantic for believing in such things. But a man’s got to believe in something. And I can’t lie,I am a romantic at heart.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to stop by, Memphis! If you are interested in meeting Memphis and the rest of the cast of characters, be sure to pick up your copy of THE DIVINERS today.

You can find out more about The Diviners by clicking the links below:

Oh my gosh, you scrolled all the way down here? Okay, so check this, I totally want to reward your efforts, but I can only reward ONE person. Here’s the skinny:

I’ve got a prize pack with a SIGNED copy of The Diviners, Diviners necklace, 1920s Headband and Bit O’Honeys for one US resident up for grabs. Use the rafflecopter form to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Great interview! Sounds like an interesting read! Thanks for sharing it, and for the giveaway! 😀

  2. A poem that I always enjoy is Jabberwocky. Interestingly enough 20’s slang could probably be substituted into the poem and I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

  3. thanks for a great post and I’ve heard such awesome things about this book 🙂 I’ve always loved The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe.

  4. Danielle Nguyen says

    I’ve always loved the English nursery rhyme “There Was a Crooked Man” for some reason. It’s very simple but has stuck with me for all these years.

  5. Great post! I think I would like Memphis quite a bit too.
    I haven’t read many of Libba’s books yet – only her Gemma Doyle trilogy – but I do have Beauty Queens in my TBR pile and I hope I like it.

  6. Not a big poetry fan, but I do like Shel Silverstein. His poems make me crack up every time — still….

  7. Lauren Ellice says

    Haven’t read anything by Libba Bray yet, but this book sounds really good. Can’t wait to read it!

  8. Lauren Ellice says

    Oh I forgot to mention a poem that I like! I’m really not a HUGE poetry fan, but I was an English major, so I do enjoy the occassional Robert Frost poem… And every year at Halloween, I have to read Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, just for the creepiness factor!

  9. Reallly excited about this one. I already have it on my Kindle and it’s in the next couple of books I will read. Will have to read this post fully after I finish. 🙂 Thanks for the contest!

  10. Read Going Bovine! I’m quoted on it- it’s an awesome book!

  11. Thanks for the contest.
    I don’t read very much poetry but I’ve loved The Lady of Shalott since reading A Great and Terrible Beauty.

  12. Hmmm, I haven’t read poetry in so long, but back in the day when I wore size 3-4 jeans, I used to check out a lot of Robert Frost from the library. I can’t remember which ones I liked though because I’m a failure. lol.

  13. I love poetry! A poem I enjoy is Richard Siken’s Scheherazade.

  14. I Carry Your Heart With Me (I carry it in]

  15. Thanks for the giveaway, and for sharing the lovely interview! I think I’d really like to meet Memphis. 😉 Anyways, I’m not a huge poetry person, but I do like most of Robert Frost’s poems! =)

    Thanks again for the giveaway April! <3

  16. Oooh, I am SO excited to read this one! I love Libba Bray and I’ve heard nothing but phenomenal things about this book! Memphis seems like an interesting character to meet and I love how authentic everything is. I just KNOW I’m going to enjoy this one a LOT! Yet another fabulous interview, April! 🙂

  17. Is it sad that, second to the book, I want to win this for the Bit’O’Honey? I love Louise Imogen Guiney’s “Out in the Fields with God” and, if he counts, Edward Gorey’s “Gashlycrumb Tinies” in rhyming couplets.

  18. As a reading teacher, one of my favorite poems is Listen to the Mustn’ts by Shel Silverstein.

  19. I’m not much of a poem reader! Anything by Robert Frost really.

  20. I don’t know if I really have a favorite poem, but like Lili said Robert Frost

  21. Nice giveaway!!
    I’ve always loved Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

  22. I don’t read a lot of poetry but I love Shel Silverstein and Edgar Allen Poe! Thanks for this amazing giveaway – I would love to win!

  23. Psalm of Life by henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  24. Favorite poem: The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe


  1. […] Memphis from The Diviners gives the scoop on poetry and Harlem. Also? You can totally enter to win a SIGNED hardc…. […]