cover image Golden Record

Golden Record

Rosemary Valero-O’Connell. Silver Sprocket, $19.99 trade paper (40p) ISBN 979-8-88620-000-3

Eisner Award winner Valero-O’Connell (Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me) serves a sumptuous if overwhelming feast in this English-Spanish bilingual graphic poetry collection. The volume opens with a poem in the form of a menu offering the body as appetizer, main course, and drink. Bodily consumption runs through the yearning, bursting verse: “the wrong word at the right time/ and I unpeel like the rind off a citrus.” Each poem evokes a figure enraptured by hunger —“i will be ravenous again/ when I can finally see your face” and “We’ll make a picnic of the bitter rot clotting our hearts.” The stanzas can sometimes be clotted themselves with language that overstimulates the senses, while drawings and photographs heighten the themes of fertility, pleasure, and decay. The overall result, despite occasionally jarring turns to neon, achieves a haunting and erotic alchemy. Snakes writhe over the page and angels and devils embrace in a smoky haze, though the vibrant color palette tends to wash out the pedestrian typography, a disservice to the multilayered poems. Readers will find much to savor in this hybrid assortment of delicacies. Agent: Charlie Olsen, InkWell Management (Feb.)