The Favorite

The Favorite

by Lucinda Watson
The Favorite

The Favorite

by Lucinda Watson


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The Favorite is, in Cig Harvey’s words, “an arrow to the heart.” Its sixty-four poems are gently shaped into three parts as Watson leads readers into her childhood’s world of social privilege, recognizes the psychological costs inhabitants pay, and demonstrates a wide and wonderful range of reactions.

Most of the fifteen poems in Part I are based on childhood memories. Four sisters ride uncomfortably in the back seat of the big car, ordered not to wrinkle their Sunday dresses, while their brother “rides shotgun and wears what he wants.” A girl manages to paddle around in an old canoe, but her sense of freedom comes from keeping herself hidden, or pretending she’s Pocahantas. Gender norms strongly favor the family’s only boy, and its powerful, charismatic father, whose presence inspires awe and fear, compliance and rebellion. Straight women, passive women, pretty and well-dressed women—enjoy, question, and are damaged by their privilege. In “Another Hurricane Coming,” for example, we understand what’s lost when a mother no longer wants her children to “feel the wind.” The fifteen poems in Part II stretch the threads first spun in childhood into adolescence, by turns angry, loving, subtle and compassionate. “When I Think of My Mother, I See a Closed Door,” ends the section appropriately.

Part III is longer-- its voice generally older, more accepting, more free in its metaphors, and

marked by a wonderfully wry sense of humor. As Richard Blanco says, “Watson tenderly, yet

unabashedly, speaks to the allure and trappings of womanhood as she traces its arc from the innocent

expectations of a girl, to the fear of a teenager forced to conform, to a fully actuated woman ... self-aware and fully alive with all her past and her future, her pain and healing, her losses and her newfound hopes.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781936135950
Publisher: Blazing Sapphire Press
Publication date: 09/01/2020
Pages: 84
Sales rank: 793,696
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.23(d)

Table of Contents


Part One

Road Trip

Early Childhood Memory Number 7

Who Put the Tiffany Paper in the Rat’s Cage

Our Year on a Boat

A Commanding Figure

Across the Pond

Forbidden Rice

Hiding Faith

Our Front Hall

The Lion Still Roars

Great Aunt Helen


Cocktail Hour

Another Hurricane Coming

Musical Chairs

Part Two

Photograph of My Mother, circa 1935, Found in a Wall of the Cloisters

Hotel in Sea Island, Georgia

In Rome With My Dad on Business

The Dress That Went to The White House

The Favorite

For Sale: Wedding Gown, Never Worn

Riding in Ireland with My Dad



Remembring Isadora Duncan

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain



Letter Yet Unsent

Sweet Strings

When I Think of My Mother I See a Closed Door

Part Three

I’ve Found Her Lost Again

Filial Visit

The Wedding Veil



Sable NIght

Vermont: Fall’s End


In the Desert You Can’t Remember Your Pain


I Could Have Believed You

Conclusions are Lethal


If I Hadn’t Asked

1963, Connecticut, President Kennedy, Cuba and My Dad

North Haven Island


Love at the Car Wash

The Dinner



Seeing Lake Tahoe

I Love My Gun: A Confessional

Bird’s Eye View of Flight


The Neighbor

Getting Around Town

Slice of Life


The Great Blue Heron

Almost 70

What I Really Wanted for Breakfast

Under It All


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