Mytheria by Molly Tenenbaum is the finalist for the Two Sylvias Press Wilder Series Poetry Book Prize.
Praise for Mytheria:
The poems in Molly Tenenbaum’s Mytheria are marked by agility and velocity. Here is a new dawn for the elegy, nearly gleeful in its manic impulse but bristling with gut-twisting loss. These kinetic, rapid-fire poems ask, what do we become in the absence of our loved ones? Syntax twitches in surrealist fairytales gone awry, where a daughter is recreated in krill, bakelite, clove, and meat, and a mother is cast from breadcrumbs, candles, and clear bones. Line after line, the sensory world ignites, blurs, and shakes us awake (“Her violent practice, her etudes of yellow-tinged grape,/ her buttery gold scales….her coppery math.”) Tenenbaum’s work has a remarkable surface beauty coupled with an epic vision, novelistic in scope. Mytheria is an exciting, spinning top of language that is at once impossibly grief-filled and exuberant. --Hadara Bar-Nadav, author of Lullaby (with Exit Sign)
“It doesn’t matter/ where the door is,” Tenenbaum tells us in these wonderfully elastic, precise and startling poems. Days are syntax rather than narrative, framing finely musical, and often playful, poems drawn from an inventive reweaving of everyday materials. These poems reimagine the figures of mother, father, daughter and lover—in an ode to her “collapsible mother” the speaker says, “I carry her in my compact,/ drink her from my travel cup”—within a lush and shifting natural landscape swerving with bicycles and “Geiger-tail” dogs. These are poems as vascular acts, circling as blood circles through a body: weirdly, expansively, perfectly direct. --Megan Snyder-Camp, author of Wintering and The Gunnywolf
Once, a three-hundred-pound man with spitty fat lips
said Never pluck them.
I’ve brushed them with red ink
and pressed them on paper.
I believe they’re better in blue.
I’ve lipsticked and sealed them
on letters, a kiss. Need negatives
to un-mirror the prints. I’ll toss them
on fabric, stitch bristling skirts,
and when I raise my hem…
Here, take my arch business card.
In the park, I’ve wired a controller, remote,
and zoomed them inches from your egg salad.
Hey, race your kite.
They’ve been tatting and grandmothers,
foxtails and toffee. Been mistletoe.
They’ve been an old car, throwing oil.
When they are sad, they are clowns
juggling straw, when happy,
rabbits in lettuce. Sometimes they scurry
belowbanks to hide from coyotes.
Now, their names are Ginger and Pickles,
and one laps haddock while the other topples the biscuit tin.
In their shop they sell boomerangs and springboards.
In summer, they give free bouquets.
In winter, they close, but you can come in.
Swing the door to set off peal after peal of bells.