In the seventeenth century, the closest a woman ever got to a theater was just outside the door, selling sweet "china" oranges at sixpence each––or maybe herself––to the audience. Simone Muench's third collection of poetry, Orange Crush, pays tribute to these figures, known as "Orange Girls," in passionate, astonishing language. The poems travel in and out of history in what Muench calls "a loop instead of a line," cannily reclaiming centuries of lost women and revisiting the various binds in which they find themselves. Her "language portraits" also pay homage to contemporary women, particularly writers, thus re-embodying and reinventing the idea of "Orange Girls." Muench's poems seem to stem directly from the four elements––earth, wind, water, and fire––and affect us immediately, more like drugs or fantastic food. It's been a long time since we’ve had an American expressionist poet like this, combining intellect, compassion, and lightning associations. read more & order
A glimpse of the titles in this book—“My Mother Can’t Stand This Poem,” “Why I Hate Ian Harris,” “Reality TV Has Ruined My Childhood”—hints at the energy, sass, and verve we find here in this freshly observed world. Displaying an admirable range, Brandi Homan offers us both the haunting prose poem sequence, “Recurring Dream House,” and the seemingly casual, at times caustic, observations of a “Drugstore Cowgirl.” Homan excels at the telling detail; Bobcat Country opens and closes with poems deeply rooted in the 1980s Midwest. This texture provides welcome humor in a bleak landscape as we follow the exploits of troubled teenage girls wearing “blue Wet-n-Wild nail polish” who drink “Zima through licorice straws.” The accomplishment of this book is that through careful observation and precise, painterly detail, Homan does more than capture one time, one place—she gives us a deeply felt, reverberating world.
—Beth Ann Fennelly, author of Unmentionables, W. W. Norton
How can a line of language be so directed and searing and still entertain the messy feast of the bleary eyed ever-birthing world? Brandi Homan’s work wakes the nervous system and embodies the difficult beauty and complexity of the question. Lucky readers, lucky us.
—Selah Saterstrom, author of The Meat and Spirit Plan, Coffee House Press
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