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You Darling Thing
Monica Ferrell

Stahlecker Selections

Four Way
2018 • 88 pp. 6 x 9"
Poetry / Poetry - Asian American / Poetry - Women Authors

$15.95 Paperback, 978-1-945588-22-8

"...Throughout this striking collection, Ferrell balances elegance and chaos, beauty and urgency, lyricism with a veiled threat."—Publisher's Weekly (starred)

A book-length meditation on courtship and the language of endearment, the social promise of marriage as a type of fulfillment, as well as the tension between a desire to be alone and a desire to not be lonely

Guided by a poem assembled from “compliments” paid by a suitor to his girlfriend (which echo the endearments Anna Karenina’s Count Vronsky directs toward his racehorse, before she collapses under his weight and is shot), You Darling Thing investigates bridehood and the concept of the vow through the voices of a variety of brides, ex-brides, courtesans, and wives. The book is ultimately less about marriage than about potentiality and promise, an engagement with what seems possible before it stops being possible—anticipation at the outset of a hunt, embryos that stay unborn, youthful predictions for a life before it’s lived, and delight in the expressive possibilities afforded by language and art.

Reviews / Endorsements

“The speakers in Monica Ferrell’s You Darling Thing are so effusively unreliable the experience of reading her poems is like walking through a cosmos of brilliant women describing themselves in exaggerated bravura even when danger looms. ‘I feel the feral marble machine of my heart leak mercury,’ says the Tourist Bride, who is only one of many variations of bride that populate this noir collection filled with persona poems spoken in the voice of Emma Bovary, a tiger ‘abandoned at the hunt’s end,’ and a fifteenth-century Italian princess who died in childbirth, among others. Ferrell’s poems are a force field of anachronism, lush irony, and an almost self-denying violent wit fueled by juxtaposition. Though the men in this collection are often dangerous, their blue eyes ‘malevolent as the circles of gas on a stove, as the blue kiss on the matchstick / That drags a house down,’ these are poems investigating love, where love is vexed, elusive, threatened by violence. ‘Love is a currency everyone wants,’ writes Ferrell, and we watch the shady transactions with guilty pleasure. Despite the eros and the sensuality in these gorgeous otherworldly poems, human touch is still a distant country and ‘what you so often think / Belongs to you does not belong to you at all.’ Brides and grooms in all their ventriloquy speak to and past each other while ‘Desire keeps rippling their transparent skin.’”—Catherine Barnett

Born in New Delhi, India, MONICA FERRELL grew up in northern New Jersey. A graduate of Harvard, she holds an MFA in poetry from Columbia University. The recipient of various fellowships and residencies, Ferrell is the winner of the “Discovery” / The Nation prize. Her first poetry book, Beasts for the Chase (2008), was selected by Jane Hirshfield as the winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry and her novel The Answer Is Always Yes (2008) was named one of Booklist’s Top Ten Debut Novels of 2008. Currently she is associate professor at Purchase College (SUNY).

Sun, 23 Sep 2018 14:50:10 -0500