POETRY

Autobiography of a Wound

Univ. of Pittsburgh. Sept. 2018. 96p. ISBN 9780822965671. pap. $17. POETRY
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Here, Rebele-Henry uses language that's angry, obsessive, visceral, energized, and accomplished for her years; she was not quite 18 when this debut collection won the AWP's Donald Hall Prize for Poetry. At its heart is a kneeling fertility figure that proclaims, "All I need to be pretty is salt and old bruises," and the poems as a whole capture the many ways that women are wounded. "Everyone likes to see a pretty girl with her face crumpled/ Into a hurt beyond recognition or, better yet,/ dead somewhere with her legs open" says "Portrait of a female figure with puncture marks & frayed rope," while "Self-portrait as a broken Venus statuette" features a girl who says "I don't like children and can't give birth" while finally asserting, "We will be beautiful/ and deadly." Throughout, portraits and self-portraits, aubades and letters to F (for the fertility carvings) and A (for Aphrodite, a figurine representing womanhood) echo with a multitude of desperate voices.
VERDICT Wise, startling, often painful reading from a poet to watch.

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