Woman Drinking Absinthe
The poems in Katherine E. Young’s Woman Drinking Absinthe concern themselves with transgressions. Lust, betrayal, guilt, redemption: Young employs fairy tales, opera, Impressionism, Japonisme, Euclidean geometry, Greek tragedy, wine, figs, and a little black magic to weave a tapestry that’s as old as the hills and as fresh as today’s headlines.
Praise for Woman Drinking Absinthe
Katherine E. Young’s poems wrap with equal grace around bears and Bluebeard, salt and calculus, as they shift between local and global, past and present. Everything gets in: through all five senses, drinks tasted, birdsong heard, each line slipping under your skin. Woman Drinking Absinthe is a book stark with truth but alive with magic, and in it Young illuminates the broken but beautiful world we inhabit.
— Jesse Lee Kercheval, author of America that island off the coast of France
Woman Drinking Absinthe is an emotional rescue operation, survival guide, and call to arms. How do you navigate the minefields of the heart? Avoid the collateral damage of relationships? Katherine E. Young finds keys in nature, in opera, in seasoning, in Civil War battlefields, phantom limbs, shadows, and invisible flowers. This book is a puzzle pulsing with universal need, and yet, she adds coyly, “Who doesn’t want to be mesmerized by love?” A hard-won truth for life’s one-act play.
— Richard Peabody, founder and editor of Gargoyle Magazine, author of Guinness on the Quay
Woman Drinking Absinthe jolts like a sugar cube dipped in wormwood. Young chronicles the body’s messy, inexplicable hungers with all the props of a well-stocked mind: Euclidean geometry, Manet’s ambivalent barmaid at the Folies Bergère, the bloody tale of Bluebeard, the colonizing love triangle of Madame Butterfly, and even the inescapable legacy of a Civil War battlefield. From the first heady, musical poem, you, too, will succumb to Young’s “iridescent dreams.”
—Karen Kovacik, author of Metropolis Burning
In Woman Drinking Absinthe, Katherine E. Young describes a precarious existence in the shadowed world, “beneath the city’s skin,” in darkened streets, parking lots and jazz bars, meeting men whose “fingers flense [her] face” in temporary rooms. A prize-winning literary
translator, Young infuses this deeply moving book with echoes of Russia—Marina Tsvetayeva, tsarinas, and tame bears. Young’s voice is sometimes dark, sometimes ironic, but always musical and world-wise, as when she instructs us in “Planning Your Suburban Affair,” to “seek the hole between lampposts: bone in the throat/ of the universe that buys you time.”
— Nancy Naomi Carlson, author of An Infusion of Violets
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