Pretty Young Thing documents an unnamed young woman’s life in a book of hours slit like an electric cord, splintered, and fused to the pavement,” in a voice that is by turns frank, demure, sweet, sultry, determined, passive, angry, and resigned. Constructed as a sequence of mostly untitled poems, the fractured narrative of this innovative debut traces the physical, historical, and emotional terrain of female sexuality in lyric monologues both interior and dramatic. With these darkly powerful poems, Danielle Pafunda flips the notion of feminine innocence on its back, showing it's not as pure as people imagine.
Brand: Soft Skull Press
Used Book in Good Condition
Soft Skull Press
Soft Skull Press
Soft Skull Press
Soft Skull Press
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Without the title, without knowing anything about Danielle Pafunda, this collection of poetry would remind me of a lost young woman experiencing her life and all its hardships, peculiarities and nuances for the first and hundredth time. The poems in this collection seem to lead us on a tour through her life from its beginning all the way to where we find Danielle now (or now as the collection was written) working on her PhD.
One reminds me of a stillbirth ("Misconception"). The title is a mix of feelings about this poem. Misconception: an idea that is perceived erroneously. Mis-conception: A failed birth. Stillborn. It also smacks of miscarriage. The play on words in the title is fantastic in and of itself.
I see a little girl visualizing an abortion or perhaps a miscarriage or a stillbirth. She has done so in such an innocent way that I had to read this poem a couple of times to understand what she's driving at. The descriptions are varied and nuanced. The child...
Pretty Young Thing is a series on maturing. Danielle Pafunda offers a Gurlesque perspective to show that love and adolescence are not the pretty pictures painted by society. Her language is heavy, like the burdens her speaker carries. The painful images of carnage, infection,and sickness allow Pafunda to paint a picture of the dirty innocence that her narrator possesses.
The title of the collection connects it with the Gurlesque movement in literature. It is irony to say that something so difficult could be pretty. In doing so, it makes a jab at how young women are viewed as objects which are expected to be dainty and attractive. The cover shows the weight a young woman bears when she has fallen in love with a man. These poems speak of how the image of the speaker is displayed and how the character feels. The speaker has a feeling she is being used but is not sure how to live any other way, and more than that, doesn't know if she even wants to.
The photo on the cover (by Christa Parravani) shows Danielle Pafunda striding long-legged, in turmoil like the clouds above her head, with the brilliant fiction writer Jedediah Berry in tow like a plow. If I were Berry I would have lost about ten pounds before agreeing to be photographed being dragged unflatteringly across a rutted field. The extra weight just makes him look careless, and anyone who's read his writing knows that he's not.
There's a sense of breaking new ground all throughout the book, which has a few MFA wearyisms but for the most part is filled with excitements both splendid and new. Pafunda doesn't always title her poems, which has its own integrity, as though they came to her complete from far-off muses' cabaret. She quotes from Artaud, from Joni Mitchell, from Sylvester and Can Xue with equal respect and a deep sympathy for what each artist is doing.
Often the poems come to us without direct referent ("It wasn't porn. It was just cards,"...
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