To choose a form—a genre, a gender—is an intentional act of manifestation. To refuse the restrictions of a form—a genre, a gender—is an act of rebellion, if not outright war. In Luxury, Blue Lace, a multivocal mix of poetry and prose poem, S. Brook Corfman examines the ways that presentation and representation conflate and complicate. Expansive, generous, deeply considered, and highly lyric, this book, with its transformations and overlaps, astounds.
In S. Brook Corfman’s Luxury, Blue Lace, the unreconciled subjectivity—the unintegrated self—yearns for wholeness, for self-creation: “I started thinking about the thing I made when I thought I was making myself.” The poems linger beautifully on these delicate, precise precipices of knowing and unknowing, and the wet mouth of the desire to remake, never tipping over into folly or disarray. Instead, they are graceful. And so tender. As if holding one’s own self in a cradle. Think of Susan Howe’s “curved, odd, indefinite, irregular, feminine language,” or, in Corfman’s words, “a deeply textured skin,” and you’ll get close to knowing the sensate world of these ravishing poems in Luxury, Blue Lace.
—DAWN LUNDY MARTIN
“What does it take // to know yourself,” asks S. Brook Corfman in this stunning, canny debut, “A narrative? A losing // of some things so that others // might be legible?” In other words, Luxury, Blue Lace fixates on the self out-of-sequence, that belies sequence, but that yearns, anyhow, to be known. As such, it enacts a queer kind of recovery, mining the past for what glimmers, half-submerged, in order to glimpse future possibility. At once luxuriously lyric and theoretically rich, attuned to the heady ambivalence of gender, genre, and time, this book is a guide for all of us who long to, or who must, “Let one word go even as another does not suggest itself.”