Monday, March 15, 2010

ReadWritePoem Book Tour

“Anatomy for the Artist”, by Molly Gaudry

Welcome to the last stop on this book tour.

We don't see our bones - we understand they are there, of course, but we take them for granted. They'll always be there, won't they?  Like the assumptions we make about our love relationship, or our solid, lasting  marriage. 

The poet, Molly Gaudry, puts us through a physical dissection of her body, bone and muscle, as we experience deception and loss in a very visceral way.  Her bones and muscles are separated, layer after layer, and we see our bones as she sees hers. This detailed disembodiment intensifies from objective watching to one's subjective experience by her refrain "We take me apart."   She names the parts,  the actions. By naming them, does she conquer them?  I think not. It is a substantial list - and this, and this, and this as well is sliced away. The tone gradually shifts from sensual to angry with each casting of the refrain "We take me apart."  Her body, and ours, is rent asunder by loss and deception in a manner that says it is imposssible to understand, except by watching oneself disintegrate.

The gritty juxtapositions of words and sounds hurt.  Good - they're supposed to hurt.  Gaudry plays with words' meanings and sounds, scraping them against each other. Consider the masterful laying down of words at the very beginning - "not like proximal that but distal this so soft superior so inferior clean superficial warm deep light fragile bulb between my radial two your ulnar two our four palmar hands plantar feet volar roaming dorsal so..." both erotic, and subtly foreshadowing a twist with repeated "s" sounds and unexpected medical terms performing unexpected actions. 

The refrain "we take me apart --" is wielded more as a surgeon's knife as the story unfolds, the areas dissected moving up the body, "by muscles of the breast" to "by muscles of the head" "the eye" as reality is encountered, "by the osseous and muscular systems of the human body-- and I should slice you spherical"... turning the dissection to the offender's body. 

I was physically drained by this poem.  I understood it on my terms.  If a poet's innovative craftsmanship with form, word, sound, imagery, metaphor, can show me my own bones, then I want to read more of that poet's work.  I see that "Anatomy for the Artist" was Gaudry's early exploration for a novella in verse.  That novella is now published and I ordered a copy of "We Take Me Apart."  I hope this poet will continue to write as bravely as she has so far.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Wanda,

    I just wanted to drop by to say thank you for the lovely and thoughtful review. I hope you enjoy the novella, which is quite different from Anatomy . . . please do feel free to drop me a line at to tell me what you think once you've read the novella. I would look forward to reading your thoughts.

    I hope this note finds you well, and thank you again for the time you took with this e-book and review.