cover image Dark Sparkler

Dark Sparkler

Amber Tamblyn. Harper Perennial, $17.99 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-0-06-234816-6

This third book of poems from actress Tamblyn (Bang Ditto) could be a large-scale media event, but it’s also a good read. Prominent since her teens in film and especially TV, Tamblyn has long been serious about poetry. Here her poetic avocation takes on the perils of her primary career: the actress has created an energetic and formally varied collection focused on ill-fated starlets, dead actresses, and child stars. Some lines misfire, or sound garish, but many hit their mark. Though Tamblyn covers the obvious (Lupe Velez, Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Dana Plato), she makes room for lesser-known figures, such as Laurel Gene, “an innocent with apple juice eyes and a/ brain full of famished birds,” and Bollywood star Taruni Sachdev, who was killed in a plane crash at 14. Verse and prose sections at the back of the volume include fictional emails that describe the construction of the book and include first-person verse meditations on an audition; David Lynch, Marilyn Manson, and other well-known figures contribute original illustrations. Reviewers may compare Tamblyn to James Franco, who also wrote poems about his own celebrity, but the two cases aren’t really alike: Tamblyn’s work seems less slick, and it’s more playful and far more personal, with highs and lows that stick around after the cameras are off. [em](Apr.) [/em]