cover image Nude Memoir

Nude Memoir

Laura Moriarty. Krupskaya, $13 (88pp) ISBN 978-1-928650-07-2

A mature exhibition of the powers of late modern, or perhaps early ""new modern,"" writing, Moriarty's latest, book-length poem is part spiritual autobiography, part post-feminist re-examination of the body and love, and part ambient wash of Steinian sonorities. The book begins with a reflection on the use of the nude in art and as metaphor (""The nude is given""), which gets torqued and turned over throughout the early sections as gender roles are troubled and estranged: ""Diana puts together supsension systems beginning at 5 a.m. Energy. Apollo. The male nude. The female worker. Automobile. Moves and comes to rest. Potential movement. The machine. `Eyes shut like a bride' "" Themes intermingle with no obvious regularity throughout the work as it dips into reflections on Duchamp's Green Box of 1914, slavery in Haiti, Buster Keaton, Nietzsche (""Supposing truth is a woman,""), the poet's relationship to the late poet Jerry Estrin, and a figure called ""Kim"" who could be a stand-in for Theresa Cha or Myung-Mi Kim (""Her name was Kim. She was named for the war.""), whose works--part history, part autobiography--Nude Memoir resembles. Written in a quasi-paratactic shorthand that often breaks into ""poetry,"" linebreaks and all, the book is perhaps weakened by the sameness of its clipped, telegraphed sentences and quotations, though the poet anticipates such objections:""A convoluted spirit invading itself like a false idea of the soul. She stole from her victims. They all became writers."" Nevertheless, the low-intensity textures of Moriarty's writing are pointed, pleasurable and so full of detail and insight that many readers will find this ""memoir"" as gripping as a tell-all. (June)