Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl

Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl

by Diane Seuss


View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award

Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize

Diane Seuss’s brilliant follow-up to Four-Legged Girl, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

Still life with stack of bills phone cord cig butt and freezer-burned Dreamsicle

Still life with Easter Bunny twenty caged minks and rusty meat grinder

Still life with whiskey wooden leg two potpies and a dead parakeet

Still life with pork rinds pickled peppers and the Book of Revelation

Still life with feeding tube oxygen half-eaten raspberry Zinger

Still life with convenience store pecking order shotgun blast to the face

—from “American Still Lives”

Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl takes its title from Rembrandt’s painting, a dark emblem of femininity, violence, and the viewer’s own troubled gaze. In Diane Seuss’s new collection, the notion of the still life is shattered and Rembrandt’s painting is presented across the book in pieces—details that hide more than they reveal until they’re assembled into a whole. With invention and irreverence, these poems escape gilded frames and overturn traditional representations of gender, class, and luxury. Instead, Seuss invites in the alienated, the washed-up, the ugly, and the freakish—the overlooked many of us who might more often stand in a Walmart parking lot than before the canvases of Pollock, O’Keeffe, and Rothko. Rendered with precision and profound empathy, this extraordinary gallery of lives in shards shows us that “our memories are local, acute, and unrelenting.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781555978068
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Publication date: 05/01/2018
Pages: 120
Sales rank: 288,629
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 9.06(h) x 0.35(d)

About the Author

Diane Seuss is the author of three previous poetry collections, including Four-Legged Girl, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open, winner of the Juniper Prize. She lives in Michigan.

Read an Excerpt


I Have Lived My Whole Life in a Painting Called Paradise
Girl in a Picture Frame


Excerpted from "Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Diane Seuss.
Excerpted by permission of Graywolf Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

I Have Lived My Whole Life in a Painting Called Paradise 1


Girl in a Picture Frame 5

Memory Fed Me until It Didn't 6

Still Life with Self-Portrait 8

Young Hare 10

Still Life with Turkey 12


Eden: An Outline 17


Self-Portrait: My Legs 23

Self-Portrait with the Ashes of My Baby Blanket 24

Self-Portrait with My Dead Looming behind Me 25

Self-Portrait with Double Helix 26

Self-Portrait with Levitation 27


Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl 33

The Knight's Dream 34

Quince, Cabbage, Melon, and Cucumber 35

The Last Still Life: The Head of Medusa 36


Walmart Parking Lot 39


American Still Lifes (the Gothic Sublime in 102 Syllables) 47

Sentences 48

Hindenburg 50

There's Some I Just Won't Let Die 51

Bowl 52

American Run-On Sentences 53

I Look at My Face in a Red Mylar Balloon Tied to a Mailbox 54


Stateline Pastoral 57


The Hand Has Dropped the Fruit and It's Painted Where It Falls 65

I Look Up from My Book and Out at the World through Reading Glasses 66

Silence Is So Accurate, Rothko Wrote 67

It Seems at Times That Silence 68

Still Life with Dictator 69

The Heroic Penetrates the Quotidian 71

Silence Again 72


Memento Mori 75


Self-Portrait with Herbarium 81

Self-Portrait with Emily Dickinson (Rebirth of Mourning) 83

Self-Portrait with Sylvia Plath's Braid 84

Self-Portrait under Janis's Shoe When She Sang "Ball and Chain" at Monterey Pop, 1967 85

Self-Portrait with Freddie M (Invention of Thunder) 86

Self-Portrait with Amy (Creation Myth) 87

Self-Portrait as Mouthpiece of an Anonymous Benefactor 88


Two Floor Mosaics 93

Passover Lamb 95

What Could Be More Beautiful Than Fede Galizia's Cherries? 96

Woman Looking at a Table 97


I Climbed Out of the Painting Called Paradise 101

Notes 105

Acknowledgments 107

Customer Reviews