199.1: Marielle Prince:: I Knew You Had Altered Me & Tell Me You Love Me & Handsy
14 December 2015
I like a gambit. I like trickery. Maybe I’m just a fan of the hustle, but when a poet manages to play, to really play in a poem, well, that’s the point in my reading that I decide I’m all in. I’m game. See, in poetry workshops students get a lot of “it’s too gimmicky” when they step outside the box. This is especially true when they mess around with structure and rhyme—those old-school craft tools that people like to say are outdated, at least until they see them done right. And Marielle Prince? She does them right. She sees the game and she knows she’s playing it (she’s mastered it, in fact), but she also knows that it’s both a game and also dead, dead serious. These poems, the author wrote: “are for the kind of people who as kids could find themselves suddenly terrified during a game of tag, the game shifting within their bodies into the shape of something primal and urgent and not actually fun at all.” But I’m offering these poems to all of you because she’s wrong on that last account. Oh, they are fun. The subtle terror is thrilling. And in her hands, the possibility of losing one’s footing inside the poems is a risk I’m happily willing to take.