KITSUNE by Jessamyn Johnston Smyth

I finished this chapbook and promptly died of jealousy. It’s so good. Can I just quote you a lovely part?

everything, everything for me has conspired

to make of me a person of no

and by sheer vexed stubbornness I am determined

to continually say yes, yes, come closer, yes

Christ, it’s all that matters

So, the poems are all on a theme–and that theme is about a shape-shifting lover. And there’s something very performative about the whole thing. I’d say theatrical, but it kind of reminded me of The Pillow Book. Like there’s a kind of detached framing and then each poem kind of plunges you right into a dramatic, emotional moment.

On Facebook she said that this is part of a larger grouping of poems all about shapeshifting lovers. I now cannot wait. Anyway, you can buy it here, if you’re looking for some poems about a fox-dude.

I want to say, too, that I really like poetry, even some of the more typical poetic stuff that a lot of people hate. So, I feel like my endorsement of something might make you instead dread to read it. But Smyth’s language is just like in that excerpt–somehow it’s the language of everyday, but slightly skewered. You don’t have to work really hard to understand what she’s saying, but the poems are sturdy enough to withstand rereading.

Many Thoughts

–The Butcher is helping my parents move. You couldn’t pay me enough to be there for that. Good luck, Butcher.

–In talking to the Butcher about our cousins, he said “The thing some of us don’t get is that no one would put up with this shit if we didn’t have to.” Yep.

–I cannot believe what happened in Texas! So very cool. I am proud and in awe.

–I cannot believe that Paula Deen didn’t settle this lawsuit a million years ago and slap a non-disclosure agreement on the woman suing her. I just don’t understand it.

–And I can’t believe her dumbass sons are going to sink their careers trying to argue that their mom isn’t racist. Or, my god, if you can’t admit that, go ahead and say something like “Our mom is a good woman who we love dearly. But, obviously, she has said and done some incredibly hurtful things without realizing just how hurtful they were.” It’d still smell like bullshit, but it’d be in the ballpark of the truth.

–The Butcher ran over one of our new hazelnuts. The other one is dead. I’m hoping for a miracle where the hazelnut somehow comes back from this.

–I’m kind of excited about a rural resort. Better than a bunch of housing developments.