As a writer, the tension Barbie create is pure gold. Contemporary poets are all over it and have been for many years — taking everything that comes with this cultural icon and making it their own.
Heavy and beautiful. That’s my 3-word review of the anthology. It’s a thick volume full of gorgeous work, including poetry, criticism, cross-disciplinary texts and visual art. But “heavy and beautiful” also works for the challenges and themes the book aims to tackle.
As an invitation for you to give them a chance — as a reader and/or writer — I thought I’d share examples of inventive poetry forms, along with some of what I’ve learned by digging into these wild, wonderful poems.
LOVE LETTER TO WHO OWNS THE HEAVENS by COREY VAN LANDINGHAM / I’m grateful for art that sits with us in these times. Some of it consoles and gives hope, and that can be nice. But I’m just as grateful for art that continues to provoke, that insists on further interrogation, like Love Letter to Who Owns the Heavens by Corey Van Landingham.
Megan Culhane Galbraith’s memoir The Guild of the Infant Savior starts with “the first woman on Earth,” Adam’s rib, serpent, apple. And it’s important to start my response to the memoir with the context of Eve, as well, including and especially the questions the archetype raises about the shaming and blaming of women, about who gets to tell a story and from what angle.
I fall in love with some detail at each house: a cluster of dwarfs like my mom painted one year in a ceramics class; a blue canoe, upside down; children’s drawings in a front window, including a crayon portrait of a cat named Serenity. Think I can get away with that in a poem?
WE by SARAH FRELIGH / Much has to do with sex. The adventures of it. Its hazards and manipulations. Parts that entice us. Parts that repel us. How we see ourselves inside it. How others see us in it. And if they can see us outside it.