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Can I Finish, Please?
Catherine Bowman




Four Way
2016 • 136 pp. 6 x 9"
Poetry / Poetry - Women Authors

$15.95 Paperback, 978-1-935536-66-6



“. . . Bowman’s work shifts the posthumous perception of Sylvia [Plath’s] incantatory aspirations as not neurotic, but heartbreaking.”  —Virginia Konchan, The Rumpus

These poems offer consolation and authenticity in the multiplying possibilities of transformation, nature, and eroticism

Not-quite-woman, not-quite-man, not-quite-animal, not-quite-flower: the poems in Can I Finish, Please? are shape-shifting acts, lyric interruptions that crave and resist completion, where the mutable self and the world are made and unmade over and over. These poems explore hungers, from appetite to hedonistic consumption, from prayer to a yearning for generative resolution. An exiled couple remakes a ruined world out of buttons and string; tools give advice on love; a magic walking stick guides a speaker through haunted stone quarries; beds turn into musical instruments; a great antlered deer lives inside a locket; flowers transform into frogs, dogs, hobos in a lecherous garden that howls and laments on the violence we do to each other and the world. Pain and loss are recognized as necessary elements in the making of a self.

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Reviews / Endorsements

“. . . These jangling, off-balance, often sneakily meditative poems are among the most interesting and formally inventive I’ve read. . . .”—Kevin Prufer, American Book Review

From the Book:

…You charm me across rope bridges
and lead me to what was never lost,
where the future becomes past.
Tonight under this full moon,
a dense tuft of fox hair
caught in a rose briar shines.
Here where I walk through my own night,
the night I offer to you as my own.
Walking Stick, where am I?
Grinding at the ground—
To go over a river where there is no river
and dream a dream I can’t remember to dream.
To come on a cloudless night.
To reason with the wind on a path.
Smoke follows beauty, he said.



CATHERINE BOWMAN is the award-winning author of 1-8OO-HOT-RIBS, Rock Farm, Notarikon, and The Plath Cabinet, as well as editor of Word of Mouth: Poems featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. Her poems have appeared in the New Yorker, Ploughshares, Paris Review, the LA Times, and Best American Poetry among other journals. She lives on a farm and teaches literature, writing, and poetry at Indiana University.



Wed, 18 Oct 2017 13:38:02 -0500