Lauren Bacall Shares a Limousine

Lauren Bacall Shares a Limousine

by Susan J Erickson
Lauren Bacall Shares a Limousine

Lauren Bacall Shares a Limousine

by Susan J Erickson


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LAUREN BACALL SHARES A LIMOUSINE celebrates women—famous, infamous, the fictional and the footnote, from Frida Kahlo to a Civil War soldier to the mother of Louis Braille to Mata Hari to Dorothy of Oz to Janis Joplin, and many more—in this irresistible and overflowing fountain of witty, sparkling and sensitive poems in voices. Poet Susan J. Erickson seemingly absorbed all the fascinating biographies and telling details of these women’s lives, then spilled out poems that brim with memorable metaphor and insight. I’m reminded how profoundly and efficiently a poem can express human experience, and that women’s experiences, never doubt it, are boundless.

—Kathleen Flenniken, author of PLUME

In LAUREN BACALL SHARES A LIMOUSINE, Susan J. Erickson reinvigorates the tradition of the dramatic monologue. “I sit still,” reflects Lucy, the wife of John James Audubon, during a silhouette cutting. “The scissors know only / the shape of what is, / not what will be.” Explaining her love for F. Scott Fitzgerald, his wife Zelda recalls, “Because he moved with the grace of a fencer / dueling with his shadow.” But the women of these pages are more than wives; they are pilots and prisoners of war, makers and musicians, actors and artists. One of several standout ekphrastic sequences invokes Georgia O’Keeffe’s sense of the Southwest landscape: “a place that picks clean / the gristle and fat of regret." Equally inventive is the collection's play with occupying outside texts—Zelda’s “recipe" for bacon and eggs, Marilyn Monroe’s self-portrait as the menu items at Schrafft's—and received forms such as the abcedarian and the pantoum. Erickson has a gift for arresting openings, as when “Emily Dickinson Introduces Her Blog”: "Propelled by chance’s cosmic pull / This Thing called Internet / Allows me from my garret space / To publish this gazette." Clever, haunting, voluptuous, and nervy in turn, these poems challenge our understanding of womanhood across two continents and three centuries.

—Sandra Beasley, author of I WAS THE JUKEBOX and COUNT THE WAVES

In Susan J. Erickson’s highly-crafted collection of poems, LAUREN BACALL SHARES A LIMOUSINE, we return to the women who came before us. From the well-known Frida Kahlo and Marilyn Monroe to the lesser-known Monique Braille and Lucy Audubon, these poems offer surprise, delight, and poignancy. Erickson’s sharp sense of play and imagination is her signature on these poems—the Venus de Milo dresses for a Halloween party, the Little Mermaid joins the Aquatic Arts Academy. The reader is rewarded with every turn of the page as the lives (both real and imagined) are spoken, explored, and expanded. Here, women stretch in the spaces “of the calm and chaos of sunrise and sunset, / the shimmer of amber, / the roar from the lion’s mouth.” Smart and accessible, these poems satisfy our desire for stories, and Erickson doesn’t disappoint. Recommended for every bookshelf.

—Kelli Russell Agodon, Author of HOURGLASS MUSEUM & THE DAILY POET

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780989872492
Publisher: Brick Road Poetry Press, Inc.
Publication date: 12/12/2016
Pages: 166
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.38(d)

Table of Contents


Frida Kahlo
Casa Azul 5
Frida Kahlo Prepares an Altar for Día de los Inocentes 7
Frida's Clothesline 9
Frida and Frankenstein 11
Sleeping With Trotsky 13
The Ballad of Frida and Diego 15

Madame Matisse Writes from Troyes Prison 21
Confession of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, Also Known as Private Lyons Wakeman, 153rd Regiment, New York State Volunteers, Union Army 23
Nurses of Bataan, Prisoners of War, The Third Year 25
Photographs from Number Three Erla Work Camp 27
Pantoum for Mata Hari 28
Lady Godiva Reminisces 30

Lucy Audubon
Field Notes of Lucy Bakewell Observing the Eastern Phoebe 35
Lucy Audubon Mourns the Daughter Named after Her and Her Mother before Her 37
Lucy Audubon Wearies of Coping with Poverty and Her Husband's Rambling Ways, 1821 38
In New Orleans, the Audubons Sit for Silhouette Cuttings, 1825 39
Lucy Audubon Tends Her Husband after His Second Stroke, 1847 41
Lucy Audubon in the Boarding House, 1865 42

Before Her Round-the-World Flight Amelia Visits With a Psychic 45
Edna St. Vincent Millay Gives Herself Advice 47
Monique Braille's Confession 48
Mamah Borthwick Cheney Goes Abroad with Frank Lloyd Wright 50
Kitty Wright Rehearses for an Interview with the Chicago Tribune Reporter after Frank Lloyd Wright Deserts His Family to Go Abroad 52
Vita Sackville-West, Diary Entry, 1955 54
Maman 55

Zelda Fitzgerald
A Dozen or So Reasons for Marrying Scott Fitzgerald Interspersed with Lines by Edna St. Vincent Millay 59
Zelda Fitzgerald Contributes to Favorite Recipes of Famous Women, 1922 62
Zelda Fitzgerald in Hollywood, 1927 65
Zelda Fitzgerald Is Banned from Baby Scottie's Baptism, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1921 64
Zelda Fitzgerald's Blue Vase, 1928 67
Zelda Fitzgerald Writes Save Me the Waltz in Phipps Clinic, 1932 68
Sheilah Graham Appraises Her Photograph with Scott Fitzgerald 70
Zelda Fitzgerald after a Highland Hospital Excursion to the Circus, Fall 1937 72

Georgia O'Keeffe
Georgia O'Keeffe Paints Cebolla Church, 1945 77
Georgia O'Keeffe Hitches a Ride to Abiquiu 78
Miss O'Keeffe at the White Place 79
Miss O'Keeffe at the Black Place 80
Miss O'Keeffe Makes Pea Soup 81
Georgia O'Keeffe Divides the Iris 83

Lauren Bacall Shares a Limousine to the Afterlife with Robin Williams 87
Mr. Wizard, 89
After Dorothy Gale's Mid-Life Crisis 90
Faye Wray Tweets atop the Empire State Building 92
Elizabeth Barrett Takes Up Tweeting 93
Emily Dickinson Introduces Her Blog 95
Emily Dickinson Observes Lent 97
Venus de Milo Gets Ready for the Halloween Party 99
The Little Mermaid at the Aquatic Arts Academy (AAA) 101
Advisory Letter: Little Mermaid to Errant Lover 103
Rapunzel Brings Her Women's Studies Class to the Tower 105

Janis Joplin
Janis Joplin Buys Her First Record Albums 109
Dear Janis, 110
Self-Portrait as Janis Joplin's Porsche 112
Janis Joplin's Lynx Coat 113
The Last Time I Saw Janis Joplin 114

Marilyn Monroe
What Marilyn Monroe Tells Her Dressmaker While Fitting Her "Mr. President" Gown 119
Marilyn Monroe Imagines Her Life as Menu Items at Schrafft's 121
Marilyn Monroe Sits for Andy Warhol in the Afterlife 124

Notes 127
About the Author 130

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