Friday, June 05, 2020

how I would like to believe in tendernesss

sex & violence
is a strange little collage of a book, and now that she's officially in the world and a real live girl, I thought I'd give a little backstory on the writing.  Where else could you find blonde joke poems mixed with Plath centos, slasher film pieces and love poem and a study of Dali's "Inventions of the Monsters." All of it built around the ideas of love and sex and marriage, but also violence and decay. I think the earliest portions were started in 2015, the latest early 2017. It charted me through the very end of one relationship and the beginning of another. It was pulled together in the month after my mother's death as something to focus on when I badly needed it,  and then promptly put at the back of my head until it was accepted by BLP the following spring. There are portions that are definitely truer to my own experience and others less so.  Some are based on fears and hesitations about certain life paths. Paths either just not traveled or carefully, pathologically avoided.  

So what you get is Dali (and his wife) and the violence of the little blue dog, barely a ghost in the frame of apocalyptic landscapes. What you get are blonde joke poems, the most mysogynistic and slut-shamey ones reclaimed for narrative. You get slasher films turned on their head where the final girl is the aggressor full of lists and letters to murderers. You get a swirly set of Plath centos that pare down so much the thesis statement of Ariel as I see it--the danger of marriage domesticity and loss of the self as a creator. And then finally, a set of love poems written after the worse election for women this country has every seen and the overflow of toxic masculinity that spawned the #metoo movement the year I was writing them, and  that still froths even now. (and a time when I was working out my own relationship issues--how to love men when most men seem to hate women).  Plath's line above  in the subject line echoes literally and metaphorically through every section.

When it came to the cover, I went with a modified version of one of the pieces that accompanied the /SLASH/ poems--a little bit bdsm, a little bit raw meat, a little bit creepy doll parts (all of which seemed highly appropro given the themes. The BLP  graphic designer, Zoe Norvell, did a gorgeous job placing the hot pink text, which on its black bars, gives a "censored" touch to the background image, so there's something very illicit about it, like an antique porn magazine.  

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