Thursday, December 20, 2012

girls in art (christina rothenbeck)

released just a couple of weeks ago, Girls in Art is christina rothenbeck's first chapbook, and it's available from dancing girl press ( ).

there are numerous reasons why you might enjoy this little book, one of course being its charming cover art. The poems in this collection touch on a wide range of subjects: egyptian miniatures, grey hair, fever dreams, laundry, frieda kahlo, nicknames, a robbery -- it's hard for me to pick a favorite.

rothenbeck's conversational tone makes her poems very accessible, and her evident interest in the world around her is contagious. the two recurring themes among these poems are the body and the mirror. observing her own body, at times as if it was someone else's, at times in pictures, at times in mirrors, she  manages to capture what it is to be alive in this world, and the desire to avoid, to redistribute some of these experiences.

"I could knit my own twin out of wire, / a little yarn for hair. Ghost double, mirror's mirror" she explains, "the unnameable growing inside me, / bundle of hair and bone and teeth. I've been hiding this / so carefully." (from I want to make someone feel this for me so I don't have to)

All Is Vanity by Charles Allan Gilbert (1892)
what i like most about her poetry is how it manages to subvert, to introduce the strange into the every-day: there is a certain domesticity to some of the poems here, but in the creases of that linen there is strangeness, the house is haunted, the girl is a ghost, tired of writing for the dead.
Suddenly there's all this noticing going on;
the light is almost painfully bright.
You're feeling everything at once --
like the world caught you watching
in the dark beneath its window. 
(from This is a troubling idea)

i thoroughly enjoyed this playful chapbook, and if any of the above sounds good to you, you might want to get a copy of your own. :)

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