My Heart in Aspic
by Sonya Vatomsky
This is a book of sensory-rich poetry investigating the body, decay/fracture, rich marrow, salted flesh, and breathing in all the dark things. This is precisely the kind of work we were looking for when we talked about finding the pieces that capture sage smoke in the eaves. It hooks you from the epigraph quote (Marina Tsvetaeva) and serves up a multi-course meal of, as one reviewer suggests, the playful & grotesque. (Porkbelly Press, 2015)
AN EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK, THE TITLE POEM, “MY HEART IN ASPIC”
Who am I to tell you to go
when I keep resentment like a fugitive
warm & nourished in a spare room?
We do our best, or we don’t.
We gnawed the cold universe to the rib,
left white bones strewn about
the tablecloth; killed flies. One, then two.
A witch can only be burned so many times before she thinks, hmm,
something has got to change here. I’ve been soup
that charred black to the pot, I’ve made the mistake of listening
when I should have cursed
I salted for flavor and not against ghosts
I am Russian; I ate
cold tongue before I knew how to kiss.
ABOUT THE POET
Sonya Vatomsky is a Moscow-born, Seattle-raised ghost whose work appears in a good amount of places, many of them with spooky names like Maudlin House, Menacing Hedge, and Bone Bouquet. My Heart In Aspic is their first chapbook; full-length Salt is for Curing (Sator Press) was released in Nov 2015. They haunt the editorial offices of Anthropoid & Fruita Pulp, and you can find them by saying their name five times in front of a bathroom mirror or at sonyavatomsky.tumblr.com.
ABOUT THE COVER
PRAISE & REVIEWS
Although this is considered a chapbook, the poems inside are so rich and thick that My Heart in Aspic swells and bursts at the seams. With an unapologetic lyricism unique to her work, Sonya Vatomsky guts empty promises offered up as love and reveals the bloody entrails of resistance, what one can suck from the bones of loss. She peels back the layered skin of memories and indulges in both the plums and the salt, the butcher’s carcass and the body that is breaking against “the film between this world / and the next.” Vivid and sensuous, playful and grotesque, Vatomsky has prepared a feast – but don’t get caught thinking she is here to serve.”
— Sarah Xerta, author Nothing To Do with Me
review by beyza ozer
“let me start off by saying this: after finishing MY HEART IN ASPIC, you may feel like you woke up one morning with mysterious bruises covering your body. you may think these bruises are whispering reassuring things to you during the darkest parts of your day, but these whispers are not coming from your bruises. this is because they are coming from sonya vatomsky and her formidable poems. be scared, but let them in.”
more at probably crying review.
review by Ruth Foley
“These poems often feel like they have spilled onto the page of their own volition, and in some ways I suppose they have. They arrive without warning, without any sense of internal censorship, and invite a reader to take them as they are.”
more at Horse Less Press.
review by Allie Marini
“Like most aspic dishes, these pieces are comprised of the offal and gelatin that are the overlooked byproducts of most cooking: these are the squeaky bits, the innards, the organ meats and the boiled-down bones of experience, of love, of violence, of survival.”
more at Rhizomatic Ideas // Zoetic Press.
“Coq au vin” received a Best of the Net nomination from Hermeneutic Press | read it online
“My Heart in Aspic” & “A girl’s guide to adventuring” received Pushcart nominations
Salt is for Curing (Sator Press, 2015)