From the universal to the personal, the formal to the experimental, Carolyn Martin’s fourth poetry collection, A Penchant for Masquerades, takes an unflinching look at the fluidity of truth, time, identity, history, death, and relationships.
Martin time-travels with Neanderthals, Lucy, and Big Foot to 9/11 to the future collapse of a holographic universe. She mines scientific discoveries, nursery rhymes, biblical characters, and the works of Issa, Horace, Yeats, Frost, Williams, Szymborska, and Collins in poems that are both playful and thought-provoking.
Since she believes reincarnation is a distinct possibility, she suggests that death need not be taken too seriously (“Re-Entry Interview,” “A Case for Sudden Death”). She riffs on an Issa haiku (“Thoughts on a Translation”), sits down to dinner with Horace (“Notes from a Water Drinker”), and promises literary revenge on a reviewer who negatively critiques this collection (“To the Reviewer Who Missed Too Much”).
Martin’s forms run the gamut from sonnets, haiku, and pantoums to free verse, found poetry, and paratactic poems whose stanzas can be read in any order. A lover of language, she builds poems based on one word (“Phonaethetics,” “Disambiguation,” “Stirring”), and delights in re-stitching the words of others in surprising ways (“Variations on Final Words,” “10 Variations on the 50 Most Quoted Lines of Poetry,” “90+ Titles Appropriated from Poetry 180 Hosted by Billy Collins”).
A lover of all things poetic, Martin has created an eclectic collection for readers who have a penchant for words and who are open to believing in everything and nothing.
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