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Pretty Young Thing: Poems [Paperback]

By Danielle Pafunda, Frances Fox Piven (Introduction by), Richard Bradley (Contributor), Paul Gajos (Contributor), Melanie Hall (Contributor), James Coe, Diane Thompson & Steve Thompson
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Item description for Pretty Young Thing: Poems by Danielle Pafunda, Frances Fox Piven, Richard Bradley, Paul Gajos, Melanie Hall, James Coe, Diane Thompson & Steve Thompson...

Pretty Young Thing documents an unnamed young woman's life in a book of hours "slit like an electric cord, splintered, and fused to the pavement," in a voice that is by turns frank, demure, sweet, sultry, determined, passive, angry, and resigned. Constructed as a sequence of mostly untitled poems, the fractured narrative of this innovative debut traces the physical, historical, and emotional terrain of female sexuality in lyric monologues both interior and dramatic. With these darkly powerful poems, Danielle Pafunda flips the notion of feminine innocence on its back, showing it's not as pure as people imagine.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   79
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.25" Width: 5.5" Height: 7.5"
Weight:   0.2 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 17, 2005
Publisher   Soft Skull Press
ISBN  1932360972  
ISBN13  9781932360974  

Availability  0 units.

More About Danielle Pafunda, Frances Fox Piven, Richard Bradley, Paul Gajos, Melanie Hall, James Coe, Diane Thompson & Steve Thompson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Danielle Pafunda is the author of IATROGENIC: THEIR TESTIMONIES (Noemi Press, 2010), My Zorba (Bloof Books 2008), and Pretty Young Thing (Soft Skull Press, 2005). Her poems have appeared in three editions of Best American Poetry. Her work has been anthologized in GURLESQUE: THE NEW GRRLY, GROTESQUE, BURLESQUE POETICSe (Saturnalia Books, 2010) and NOT FOR MOTHERS ONLY: CONTEMPORARY POEMS ON CHILD-GETTING & CHILD REARING (Fence Books, 2007). With the fiction writer Alissa Nutting, she's at work on a collection of short stories about very sad animals and pearls. Her story "Near-Dead Pearl" will appear in the 2010 issue of Fairy Tale Review. She curates poetics forums at Delirious Hem and is an assistant professor of women's & gender studies and English at the University of Wyoming. More information is at her Iron Caisson blog.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > English > American Literature
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > General
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > Single Authors > United States
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > Poetry > 20th Century
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > Poetry > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Pretty Young Thing: Poems?

"Your Husband's Balls Were None Of My Beeswax"  Oct 22, 2005
The photo on the cover (by Christa Parravani) shows Danielle Pafunda striding long-legged, in turmoil like the clouds above her head, with the brilliant fiction writer Jedediah Berry in tow like a plow. If I were Berry I would have lost about ten pounds before agreeing to be photographed being dragged unflatteringly across a rutted field. The extra weight just makes him look careless, and anyone who's read his writing knows that he's not.

There's a sense of breaking new ground all throughout the book, which has a few MFA wearyisms but for the most part is filled with excitements both splendid and new. Pafunda doesn't always title her poems, which has its own integrity, as though they came to her complete from far-off muses' cabaret. She quotes from Artaud, from Joni Mitchell, from Sylvester and Can Xue with equal respect and a deep sympathy for what each artist is doing.

Often the poems come to us without direct referent ("It wasn't porn. It was just cards," one begins) leaving the reader to supply the context out of his or her own head. Sometimes the personal pronoun "I" gets clipped, like a coupon, out of the poetic sentence; like Freud's repressed, however, Pafunda's "I" always returns, for it is pretty much a poetry of identity and psychic shock, detailing the outrageous things that come into her head or her body makes her do or think. "I dress in soiled pajamas./ My rash flares." Her sexual and social frankness will remind you of the mid-period Anne Sexton, for like Sexton, Pafunda is rebelling against a system which has a name for everything except the things most important to a human, not to mention a woman. "Everything I owned reminded me of a tampon."

At other times a seemly asceticism shines through the verse, and even a world-weariness slightly risible coming from a woman of 28; one wonders, how she will feel at 38? There's a quiet, devotional quality in Pafunda's best pieces, and a willingness to take in experience and to render it anew through the schematic of the poem, the "empirical wild goose chase," as she says in another connection. Those of us who first noticed Pafunda's work in Lyn Hejinian's edition of the BEST AMERICAN POETRY 2004 will be happy that a whole book is here. Our rash flares.

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