Coeur de Lion
by Ariana Reines
$16.95 List Price
Ariana Reines, now thirty, has a curriculum vitae that could make her look like a star of academia. She graduated summa cum laude from Barnard and then studied with the most rarefied, radical philosophers and literary theorists at Columbia and at the European Graduate School in Switzerland. She has translated two books from the French for Semiotext(e), as well as Baudelaire’s My Heart Laid Bare for her own tiny Mal-O-Mar press. She was the 2009 Roberta C. Holloway Lecturer in Poetry (the youngest ever) at UC Berkeley. Her first book of poems was The Cow (2006), followed by the two reviewed here, and she’s the author of a play, TELEPHONE (inspired by Avital Ronell’s The Telephone Book’s extravagantly difficult, graphic extrapolation from telephone technology into schizophrenia and culture), the production of which play awed reviewers and won two Obies in 2009. Reines is interested in and has studied performance, and is an irresistible, waifish, wisecracking public impresario of her poems. She’s discussed endlessly on the Web. Whatever all that might suggest, her heart truly is in the gutter with the filthy and distraught and impossible and she’s one notch above a bag lady herself, literally. She is about nothing but poetry—poetry and decency (though possibly in that order).
Coeur de Lion, originally published in 2007, is a long poem-series written in a confessional mode, intentionally blog-like, in which the author kisses off a boyfriend whose love letters to another girl Reines has found by hacking into his
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