Joan Baez Announces First-Ever Poetry Book

After the success of her documentary, I Am a Noise, last year, Joan Baez will release her debut poetry book later this month.

On Tuesday, the music legend and activist announced that she’ll release When You See My Mother, Ask Her to Dance, an autobiographical collection of poetry, on April 30 via Godine.

Baez has written poetry for years, and shared a glimpse of some of her musings in the recent documentary, but hadn’t shared poems in book format before. In I Am a Noise, Baez looks at a storage unit filled with some of her diary entries and writings, including poems that “have piled up in notebooks and on scraps of paper” that will be in the book, according to a press release.

“For the first time ever, her life is shared in verse, revealing pivotal life experiences that shaped an icon, offering a never-before-seen look into the reminiscences and musings of a great artist,” the release said.

The collection of writings will see Baez contemplate about her contemporaries, her childhood, memories with her family, and pieces about her late sister Mimi Fariña.

A review from Elton John songwriter Bernie Taupin described Baez as a “national treasure,” praising her writings in the book. “Joan’s ideas and musings ricochet from the profound and humanly factual to the observant and slyly humorous,” Taupin said in a statement. “Her words can be both poignantly executed and captivating in a colorful closeness that pin-points the chinks in our armor that mirror all facets of the world we inhabit.”


Baez premiered her I Am a Noise at Los Angeles’ Nuart Theatre accompanied by a Q&A with Lana Del Rey, who described Baez as “the toughest woman I have ever met.”

“On behalf of all female, passionate, empathetic singers, may I say that then in that case, everyone here has witnessed a miracle. And I’d like to thank Joan for being a blueprint in that way,” Del Rey said. “Because it’s nice to see someone’s trajectory from nervousness to letting everything happen on life’s timeline. It was life’s timeline. You never know when you’re gonna get to that point if you get to that point. And I just want to say thank you.”


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