(Porkbelly Press, 2017)
I thought this Yann Tiersen song
was about a girl––Sur le fil.
Translation––On the wire.
Perhaps it is about a tight-rope
walking girl, a pit of lions beneath.
For years we think, I know this,
I know that. Bad translations;
mistaken names; dropped letters;
divorce names; maiden names;
mother’s names; father’s names;
a poet should be a master of naming.
And yet this pit of lions dug
deep in the abdomen––bad faith,
as Sartre would say––I haven’t it in me
to claim anything that can’t be redacted,
Just put a line through it already,
let’s walk across it together, me and you,
maybe the lions aren’t hungry today,
maybe if we say it enough times,
they’ll believe us.
about the poet
Anita Olivia Koester is a Chicago poet and author of the chapbooks Marco Polo (Hermeneutic Chaos Press)and Arrow Songs which won Paper Nautilus’ Vella Chapbook Contest. Her poems have been nominated for Best New Poets and Pushcart Prizes, and won Midwestern Gothic’s 2016 Lake Prize in Poetry, So to Speak’s Annual Poetry Contest, and the Jo-Anne Hirshfield Memorial Poetry Award. She is currently the poetry editor for Duende. Her poetry is published or forthcoming in Vinyl, CALYX Journal, Tahoma Literary Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, and elsewhere. Her work as been supported by the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Vermont Studio Center, and Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA). Visit her online at www.anitaoliviakoester.com.
In this collection, Koester gives us three central lessons. One, it is not always necessary to be loud to be ferocious. Two, there are unlimited ways to be naked, most of which happen clothed. Three, even longing that begins with nostalgia can blossom into something altogether and luminously new.
Apples and Pomegranates unravels and interrogates a universe set on its denial of the body feminine. Artistic canon, the expectations and consequences of relationships, biology itself, and even language (its translation or mistranslation) are called into light by Koester’s words. “Travelling the fallopian tubes of the Milky Way” is a tender prospect in every sense of the word. Koester’s command of passion and utterance is that kind of double-edged wonder.
—Keith S. Wilson