Story

Jennifer Firestone. Ugly Duckling, $18 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-946433-33-6
The perceptive fifth collection from Firestone (Ten) reflects on its own movement through time, language, and experience, slowly revealing the story of a couple and challenging the implicit desire for a clean narrative arc. “Bodies sit down and language delivers,” she writes, wryly reminding the reader of his or her own expository impulses. Presented as a book-length sequence in which language alternates between quoted passages and lineated poetry, Firestone’s innovative structural device complements and further serves her project of interrogating narrative, highlighting how the storyteller borrows from a shared cultural imagination: “It was like this: she wondered is this my narrative?” In poetry that is as smart as it is self-aware, Firestone calls attention to the line’s own artifice: ‘“Line up thoughts, label the hours,”’ she writes, reflecting on her own impulse to name, structure, and claim ownership of the tale, despite the admitted impossibility of these efforts. This is a skillful and philosophically rich addition to Firestone’s stimulating body of work. (Dec.)
Reviewed on : 01/13/2020
Release date: 12/01/2019
Genre: Poetry
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