POETRY

Virgin

Milkweed. Feb. 2018. 112p. ISBN 9781571315007. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781571319777. POETRY
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OrangeReviewStarWinner of the inaugural Jake Adam York Prize, this dazzling new collection from Sotelo (Nonstop Godhead) seems written with opal grit. The poet highlights female subjugation to male assumptions and desires ("I am beautiful in my harmlessness!") but offers considerable pushback, as Sotelo explores what women really want. In one poem, the speaker envisions her man fleeing "once he sees how far & wide,/ how dark & deep// this frigid female mind can go"; elsewhere, "When I'm with a man, I drag the yolk right out of him." Sensuality and resistance go hand in hand, even as Ariadne surfaces to admonish, "When a man tells you he's a monster,/ believe him."
VERDICT A moving section of this book clarifies the influences of the poet's artist father, who teaches her the meaning of art: "This one is art. This is what art looks like." She learned her lesson well.

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