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Blinking Ephemeral Valentine
Joni Wallace

Four Way
2011 • 68 pp. 6 x 9"

$15.95 Paperback, 978-1-935536-09-3

The short, sparky poems in Wallace's first book really are valentines: love poems, sex poems, poems of flirtation, pursuit, infatuation and devotion, turning almost everything... [continued in Reviews below]”—Publisher's Weekly

This collection seeks to resuscitate the concept of love amid modern-day landscapes that undercut the possibilities of genuine emotion

In Blinking Ephemeral Valentine, Joni Wallace recreates the break-neck speed of modern life while fighting to find pure emotion, albeit “blinking.” “Remember our best night?” Wallace writes, “Not the drowning, not the self-same gasping as a makeshift blast broadcast through gaping windows…” Through collage, syntactical experimentation, and fragmentation, these tough and edgy poems relinquish the worn paths of traditional romantic poetry for an approach that articulates the hidden: “Here is where I think of you. / Here is a picture, negative, x-ray, reverse.”

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

The short, sparky poems in Wallace's first book really are valentines: love poems, sex poems, poems of flirtation, pursuit, infatuation and devotion, turning almost everything that they depict into cause for an only slightly ironic enthusiasm, as in "Valentine with Girl Falling and Music": "Gravity, our forecast, our/ lovely-engine-slightly-gunned, miss you, kiss you." Wallace pursues a sharp brevity even as she promises, and tries to deliver, the world: "I'll trace for you flight patterns," another poem says, while "vapor trails circumvolve." Elsewhere she offers, instead, quick invitations, some of them deliberately kid-like ("Purple Plastic Decoder Valentine") and some of them leavened with adult comedy: "Come into the sable night,/ thing-witch with your strap/ of knives, a blue-black bat/ shadowboxing your hand." Wallace's dense and highly colored language, her interest in extreme emotion, and her delightful aversion to straight-up storytelling, often recalls Lucie Brock-Broido. Yet Wallace's collection counterbalances those intensities with attempts at compression. Her characteristic works are short (some will say too short) and they go by fast (some will say too fast). Indeed, Wallace acknowledges as much--"Phosphor, give me more," one sequence begins--though that same sequence ends with two one-line poems. At her best Wallace can truly make her small units into self-contained delights--she is not just inventive, but fun; such work should indeed, and in a flattering sense, leave alert readers asking for morePublisher's Weekly

“In these poems, the valentine (i.e., love) is a many-faceted metaphoric machine that is
endlessly active—forever drag racing with the dark—after which it sputters, clangs, trails off, goes out, and returns to post itself like a “shadow pterodactyl….” These poems are brilliant: the language is excited, the syntax ever-shifting, the images inventive. Every line feels irrefutable, and charged—electric, like love is, and glittery, like valentines are.”—Mary Jo Bang

From the Book:


At four you could make yourself
invisible and stay that way, make a world
out of egg cartons and sequins, here a picnic,
here a glass town. Sometimes you still see inside your head, a filmstrip of sticker states
and striped shirts, you are parachute-girl,
you are dance-girl, you are swagger,
you are swim.
Then nothing. Disappeared.
Float for hours, happy as it is.
You can’t tell if the air is moving.
Clouds stretch into a chain.
No ghosts, no broken boat, no swan looks away.

JONI WALLACE, author of Redshift, holds an MFA from the University of Montana. She teaches poetry in Arizona and Colorado.

Sat, 2 Dec 2017 12:00:04 -0500