9781612481364-1I met Lori Horvitz several years ago at an artists’ residency, where she was writing this book, then tentatively called “Dating My Mother.” She read the title piece, about her recent break-up with a woman whose eccentric restaurant behavior rivaled that of Lori’s mother, who once responded to a bug in a bowl of soup by saying, “It’s pepper. Just eat it.” The piece was sad, not only because it was about a failed romantic relationship but because the mother in the title died young, when Lori was in her early twenties. I was moved by Lori’s struggle on the page to disentangle herself from a dysfunctional way of paying homage to her mother by unconsciously choosing to date women who resembled her.

 

“We need to talk,” said my mom. I was 14, and this could have meant any number of ominous things. We’d had many “talks” over the years, most of them related to my adolescent misbehavior, which arrived at 12 in particularly worrying form.

We sat together at our breakfast counter, she with a mug of Bengal spice tea, me with a glass of OJ. My mother was, and is, a very pretty woman, with bright blue eyes, skyscraper cheekbones, and an easy laugh. She sipped her tea and took a breath.

“Karen and I aren’t just friends, honey.” Her features tightened, but her eyes met mine, clear and steady. “We’re more than friends.”

A Closer Look at What You Should Be Reading

UNSOUND by Jennifer Martenson

Burning Deck/Poetry

63pp.

 

Reading Jennifer Martenson’s poems are like ingesting the tastiest word soup imaginable. Unsound, Martenson’s first full-length book overflows with numerous concepts and thinking bits of poetic logic. It’s these logical phrases, words and thoughts that morph into actions and bigger words resulting in a specific kind of full-blown cohesiveness in this lyrical book of poems. In Preface, she begins to delve into inner thoughts and feelings about such things, “in my attempt to explicate by touch, I struck my forehead violently against the corner of an ambiguity. Was I holding your hand or merely an opinion? Here again were twisted paths, this time covered with damp, matted layers of perspective. Fate has a margin of error equal in width to the desire of one woman for another.”