Life of the Party: Poems
By Olivia Gatwood
(153 pages, poetry, 2019)
This collection of poems will make you want to step back every now and then to catch your breath. Gatwood’s impossible-to-ignore observations about women’s bodies – and men’s experiences of women’s bodies – are relayed in achingly unambiguous language. At times winsome, but often chilling, the poems in this collection get under your skin. The subject matter blends her own coming-of-age experiences, her obsession with true crime, and a predatory sexual culture that forces us to confront the ways we sensationalize violence against women (and other vulnerable groups) in our media. One line in particular, from the poem Eubank and Candelaria, 2009, illustrates the major themes well: “I have heard men refer to the number of women they’ve slept with as their body count.” Vulnerability, truth, fear, and rage are brought vibrantly to life in this uncompromising assemblage of poems that give us a stand-out voice for women’s empowerment that we should all bear witness to.
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