Marina Diamandis Announces ‘Eat the World’ Poetry Book: Interview

April 2, 2024

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Marina Diamandis was on shrooms a few years ago, writing what she thought were lyrics for new music. A few days later, she looked at everything she had written and realized she wanted to go beyond just songs.

“I tried, and it just felt so weird,” she tells Rolling Stone. “I suddenly was like, ‘I think these are poems, actually.’ As soon as I accepted that, I started writing poetry every single day. For a whole summer, it was every single morning.”

What came out of those writing sessions was Eat the World, Marina’s debut poetry book, which Rolling Stone can exclusively announce will drop Oct. 29 via Penguin Random House.

The book intertwines Diamandis’ musings with gorgeous artwork as the singer explores her experiences with dating, reflects on some dark moments in her life, and examines her early career and her “Marina and the Diamonds” days with compassion.

Diamandis says the poetry captures a side of her that’s much more vulnerable and less processed. “There’s stuff that still feels slightly embarrassing to me, but it’s because I am exposing a genuine part of myself that maybe isn’t as glam and glitzy as I would like to portray,” Diamandis admits. “But I think that’s a healthy thing. That’s freedom to me: being able to show up as yourself and being OK with it.”

From her home in Los Angeles, Diamandis spoke about several of her Eat the World‘s poems and gave Rolling Stone an update about her upcoming music:

You’ve been talking about the poetry book for two years now. In October 2022, you tweeted, “I’ve been writing a poetry book this last year. It’s spicy, and brutal, and funny, and sad, and kind of like my lyrics, but way more savage.”
Oh my God. Is it that long ago? It is going to be exactly that. Books just take time to write, especially, with poetry. There is a parallel to an album in that you are encapsulating one chapter of your life, and this definitely felt like that. Sometimes, you can’t decide when it’s done until it feels instinctively like it’s finished. It’s been done for about six months.

How are songwriting and poetry writing different for you?
I’ve discovered this magical new form of expression where I can still story-tell like I do with my songs, but I’m able to be way more honest and open about things that is just not possible with songwriting. I love the element of fantasy still with pop and with concepts, and sometimes, you have to forego a little bit of the objectivity of a situation for that. So with poetry, it’s completely different. It’s like I’m able to play with and process the past in a completely different format. It’s like there’s no rules.

What have you learned about yourself through the process?
I really learned about the parts of myself that I wasn’t comfortable with at all. I think, on the subject of relationships, they’re amazing because they are mirrors for us. Even being out of relationship, if something ends or if you’re doing random dating, all of those things just show us different parts of ourselves. The book has allowed me the space to be able to explore thing I wasn’t happy about myself in a way that I just don’t think I could have with music. 

“Sex Robot” was very relatable, and touches on your experience dating in your 30s. What’s that been like?
I can’t be totally honest, because we’re doing an interview! I think we all struggle with that no matter what age because I think we are living in a very confusing time. The way that we function on social media has distorted the way that we perceive our lives and other people’s lives. I’m very much focused on how my life feels as opposed to how it looks. I’m just feeling very happy and content in myself now.

One poem, “Proof of Time” seems to be an encapsulation of what you think Los Angeles is: a plastic kingdom, perhaps. What inspired that one?
I’m obsessed with L.A., but sometimes I cannot get over this feeling that nothing is old. It feels so strange coming from Europe, particularly Greece and Wales, where everything is old as fuck. That poem is about longing for something deeper rooted to give me that sense of belonging. I was trying to fuse this feeling of this very modern culture, like lip fillers and butt lifts and plastic keychains on Hollywood Boulevard with this sense of history that comes the earth here: the nature, the canyons, the history of the Tongva tribe that lived here for 7,000 years before they all got wiped out.

What does the “Eat the World” poem reflect about the rest of the book?
It was one of the first poems I wrote. I wanted to encapsulate this feeling I’d had throughout my teens and my twenties that drove a lot of my work at the time. It’s like this insatiable need to be loved, essentially, and no matter what you achieve, there’s nothing that can really fill it permanently. I don’t feel like it’s tapping into negative things. I think it was just a reflection on how things were, and I wrote that when I got out of my record deal with Atlantic. It was a real end of an era where I could look at how I had been. I don’t think I really am looking for validation in the same way at all. I think now, it’s just like, is it fun? Is it going to contribute something positive in the world? Otherwise, why am I doing it?

It seems like you’re going through a transitional time in your life.
Definitely. I don’t even know what’s coming with music. All I know is that I feel different, and I also don’t feel in a mad rush. I feel like this next record’s going to be important, and I think the poetry book is also reflective of that. I’m able to take a left turn and do something that was genuinely just for the joy of doing it. I’m in a separate part of my memory bank. That’s how it feels.

You seem more free. Are you?
Yes. I am. Thanks for noticing.

What’s that like?
Oh my God. It’s amazing. Wait. Let me ask you. Do you feel free?

I don’t think so. I feel so stuck on this idea of where I want to be. I feel so chained to the idea of what I want in the future that I don’t feel like I’m free right now.
That’s so interesting. You’ve sparked something in my head, because when we go through these feelings, we think that we’re the only ones that could possibly be feeling that specific thing. For myself, it’s just related to how I grew up and feeling scared actually to be who I want to be. I think the last few years, I’ve really broken through that. I would always walk around the world thinking that everyone is free except for me, which is so ludicrous. I think a lot of us in creative professions are doing it because it makes us feel free in some way. It’s like a portal to freedom. Poetry has made me feel free, because it’s writing about things that, if I’m quite honest, I would rather people not know.

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How has your relationship with the Electra Heart, Family Jewels era changed? 
I feel so much more compassion for that version of myself. It feels very far away. It is hard to even watch interviews from that time, because I’m like, “Who is she?” Whenever I hear those records, I love them. I love my past, and it also always helps to listen to them right before I’m doing a new record. Because I want to know where I’ve come from, and what I’d like to bring in, what energy I want to bring in. I think this time, it’s an opportunity to do something really different.

You mentioned you’re working on new music. What’s the update on that?
I’ve been writing for six months. It’s still at the beginning. I haven’t started producing anything yet. Part of me is desperate to get things out, but also, part of me is just saying, “Enjoy this process.” Because this is my favorite thing: to build the record and build the world around it. I don’t have any timeline yet, but sooner rather than later. I know it’s been a while, but I’ve had things going on.

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