Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Pink & Shiny Party @ Modernformations

I think Sarah B. Boyle flashed me the horns after she read… we were talking about how she used gumballs as a poetic image for her aborted fetus, and how she uh, provided real gumballs at her event. I think she gave me a little “devil’s horns” hand symbol when I brought up the connection. It was at this point that I thought of the word “hardcore”. I thought this whole event was actually very “hardcore”.

Much like some kind of perverted candy, the soft, pink, & shiny exterior of Sarah B. Boyle’s poetry contains a rock-hard, tooth-cracking center.

An example line:

"The curette scrapes the uterus clean.
It is a parfait spoon with a scalpel edge."

The center of Boyle’s new chapbook, What’s Pink & Shiny / What's Dark & Hard, is an abortion, which isn’t new subject matter for poetry, but it managed that night to become new. I think it was the reading: Sarah spoke with a lilting, almost innocent manner which gave an artificially to her performance which, for me, translated into tactics. That seeming incongruence between center and exterior gave Boyle's work power: the disastrous became everyday, the grotesque was cute, and even if it was tongue-in-cheek it was unflinching: the experience was exactly as serious, exactly as humorous, as it deserved to be.

Boyle also read a “Golden Shovel” poem, in the style of Terrance Hayes, wherein the last word of every line is anagrammatically taken from a sentence. Boyle’s chosen sentence was an off-the-cuff public sexist remark by a Republican partisan: “I can look out in the crowd, I kinda have Fox X-ray vision, and I can see that some of you women, you don't even know it yet, but you're pregnant.” In the resulting poem, Boyle explored the rapacious reasoning behind this statement with sensual and lyrical language which had the guts to move beyond caricature. The result was very funny, sounded , and exposed a kind of crazy heart to the politician's logic, an animal romance: cutting to the bone.

Margaret Bashaar also read some excellent poems and Adam Gibson, Boyle’s brother, played a few songs on his guitar. Brandt Dykstra was painting on a pink canvas on the back of the stage for the entirety of the event. Along with the gumballs a pink creamcheese-and-chocolate-chips cake was served, and was delicious.

1 comment:

  1. Pretty awesome and poetic writing yourself, Pete. Soft and creamy on the outside, with a bone-cracking center.