Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June 15, Title Poem

The title poem is a poem of several pages composed of several parts and written in long lines. It begins In an hour, I'll be lying on the worn-out, mauve-colored couch/in the 30th month of my psychoanalysis, free associating/on the tables of brassieres in Victoria's Secret, & how/I love to wander there, touching the puce-colored slips of silky polyester,

N spends some time in the lingerie, then her Super-ego rudely jerks her back to the dusty-smelly couch and she claims her feminist persona. Her psyche then wanders over the psychological and historical landscape, musing about breasts in quite startling sensual language. Some examples:

And then there's the miracle of lactating breasts with their stretched nipples/and swollen globes of succulent flesh, the skin thinned at the sides,/raising the blue veins to the surface so it looks like a map./I love breasts fastened into nursing bras with their flip-down/cups, facilitating a jutting-out as hilarious as coarse characters/in a Vegas strip show.

And this:

I loved the mounting. My baby mounting the objects of his desire,/and making them run with milk, sucking out the cream, raising the heat and falling back, drunk and gluttonous,/ almost post-coital, on the sweaty, smelly pillow of my flesh.

Or this:

In her barely literate way, my mother's mother must have meditated/on the dual mysteries of every woman's breasts that Freud, in his genius,/almost ruined: the sweet delight of a baby's nursing, and the harder edges/of the pleasure delivered by a moaning lover's sucking mouth.

It goes on like this, sensually, specifically, pulling no punches for pages. It is highly Freudian, highly oral stage, vacillating between the feminine and the feminist, the psychoanalytic and the psychoanalytically critical throughout. Naturally, I love it.


  1. I was going to comment with admiration and some envy about how she's very comfortable and frank with her body. Now that I've been over to Google Books and had a closer look at the title poem, I'm going to stick with "frank". And maybe "comfortable on a physical level".

    This looks like a fascinating book, and one that I would find highly challenging. (I'm noticing how relative "challenging" is to observers; I just commented on a poem being easy for me because it had rhyme and meter, and I think that's the opposite of how most people feel.)

  2. You know, I admired the poet for her ability to explore the breast as both an erotic symbol and as sustenance and sometimes both at once, of woman as subject and object and maybe, just maybe, sometimes WANTING to be object. The poem was both compelling and uncomfortable to read. She hit all the right chords with this one.

  3. Holy Breast Fest, Laurie! After reading your comments and the excerpts you selected, I just had to go see for myself. Thorough. Saturated you might say. A bunch of other Benny Hill silliness of one liners could be inserted here. Daniels is bringing in every possible angle and generation to cover this. I have to say at first there was something about the combination of analysis and stark imagery that made me feel like there was a sharp edge to it. After reading the poem I just feel like she is unafraid to really explore all of it, and I'm grateful to her because it brought back memories and revelations and many new things to ponder.

    We all have our own relationship to being fed by breast or bottle, and I think most of us make a point to find out what we can about how that went for us. I think for women who have had and nursed their own babies, well, let's just say I think that experience answers as many questions as it asks new ones.

    This makes me want to know how men respond to it, not just because of the topic but because she includes and confronts herself and the reader with Victoria's Secret in a way that I think might cause straight men to do a double take (ha ha). I think for many of us there is a bit of a conundrum here in the contrast between breasts objectified and/or experienced sexually vs. the experience of watching a woman nurse a baby. I hate to assume that men would have an experience entirely foreign to mine, but then again it's hard to imagine otherwise.

    This is great Laurie, thanks for choosing Daniels, I'll be interested to see where she takes you.