Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Elliptical Poetry Part 3

After a tragic weekend, during which I thought the elliptical machine was broken, lost to me forever, my husband Mihnea has used the magical powers of superglue, and we're back!

Yesterday I was on the elliptical machine for 52 minutes and I read two chapbooks!

1. Demon Lovers and Other Difficulties by Nicole Kornher-Stace (Goblin Fruit, 2009) I love Goblin Fruit - it's one of my favorite online journals, for its content, for the amazing layouts designed special for each issue, and for its offering of audio recordings of the work published in its virtual pages. When I heard they were making their first foray into the world of printed publications last year, I lined up to get my copy of Demon Lovers and Other Difficulties. I hadn't read much (any) of Nicole Kornher-Stace's work before, and I think this is because she is more part of the fantasy/sci-fi community of writers - one I often gaze at from afar, but have not delved into, perhaps, as much as I ought. These poems are about what happens off-stage in fairytales - the experiences of the women and men who marry otherworldly creatures, have children with them, and watch those children grow up. There are four poems in the collection titled "The Demon Lover's Child Grows Up" which form the main story arch of the collection, each one documenting the life of the son of a human and demon lover, which are quite well-done - Nicole has quite a voice. If you have any inclination whatsoever toward fantastical poetry, I would definitely recommend this chapbook.

2. Soft Foam by Juliet Cook (Blood Pudding Press, 2010) Before you even read this (tiny) review, I need you to go purchase this chapbook. Immediately. I'll wait. Okay. I am going to go ahead and assume you did as you were instructed, and now I'll tell you why. From the very first poem, Semi-Extraneous Consort (page 12 of the link), I knew I was going to adore this chapbook. I think, sometimes, that Juliet (or at least the persona Juliet writes in) and I have some of the same neurosis. I feel like she gets me and all the fucked up little things that go through my head. Much of this chapbook is a meditation on life and death - particularly that of of the speaker's husband's previous wife, who, it is revealed in the chapbook, has died. I, too, am my husband's second wife, and while his previous wife is not dead (and is a lovely person - I don't wish such things upon her in the least), when we first got together it felt different from him just having ex girlfriends. I feel like Juliet has an acute understanding of this and paints this relationship that her speaker has with her husband's dead first wife in such a painfully beautiful way that I couldn't put the chapbook down. I had some serious "goddamn! I want to write like this!" moments while reading Soft Foam. All the poems were, as I've now come to expect from Juliet, a treat to read aloud. I had some serious fun while elliptical-ing. Add in some creepy/lovely sea creatures, and you have my favorite chapbook I've read so far this year, hands down.


I haven't done any of my own writing since my last update, though I did have my son (birthday party, Kennywood trip, and kid shopping extravaganza) all weekend, so that seriously cut into all of my "me time". Things have been in a bit of an upheaval/shift mode in my life lately. I'm attempting to re-organize pretty much everything, and it's been a rather horrendous process in some ways. In other ways it's been great for me, but the in-between time is never easy, and that whole "figuring out what you really need to be doing/want out of life" thing is hard. Go figure.

I'm also trying to dress better. I got extremely lazy with my clothing over the past few months - I think it all started over the winter, though. Then I bought a new skirt and shirt and realized how fabulous I looked for once when my friend Damien was in town a couple weekends ago. It was a big wake up call in regards to how utterly blah I had let things get. So, over the past two weeks I've also been trying to dress cute, look at my closet from a new angle, and read some fashion blogs (yes, you read that correctly - but not big scary corporate ones - the little ones by people with budgets like mine) and today I would almost venture to say I look stylish. Mihnea commented upon my elevated levels of cuteness before I left the apartment this morning. Even co-worker Phil noticed that I'm not dressing like I don't have light in my closet any more. Progress!

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