Elsa: An Unauthorized Autobiography (Paperback)

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Poetry. Women's Studies. Angela Veronica Wong's ELSA unfolds the story of a fictional 18th-century French demimondaine and mistress of Louis XV. Meditating on gender, identity, and the precarity of women's lives against the scrim of patriarchal power and capital, the foils of the sonnet form and storytelling shape Wong's critique. Both adhering to and breaking the strictures of rhyme and meter, much as Elsa wears and divests herself of corset and panniers, Wong's sonnets shift between the politics of the French court and the streets of New York, the poems navigating the shoals of female embodiment, as we slip between then and now, narrated and narrator. Her beauty a discipline alternately wielded by and against her, Elsa is droll they say / Elsa is a doll. Elsa is a hole / inside you put your secrets. In the interstices of her childhood, affairs, and births, Elsa resists, interrogating each exchange, each lover as pieces in a game of strategy in which to endure is to win, the price of freedom, the silence she keeps.

Elsa is someone you can talk to. She knows more than you perhaps might want her to, about you and about herself and about the world, and she cannot possibly hold that knowing back. Yet, she also defies a confining comprehension, positioning herself as eyewitness to all manner of feminine constructions and destructions. Elsa is an irresistible storyteller, willing co- conspirator, sly everywoman and, most importantly, the perfect confidante--the revealer and the keeper of mysteries both individual and cultural. Angela Veronica Wong writes ELSA as a dual universe in textual miniature, with vulnerability and strength balancing expertly on the same psychological precipice: 'Elsa, / when everything's a secret one can't tell / if things are said in warning or said / with hope. Maybe you will know the difference.' --Khadijah Queen

Angela Veronica Wong infuses this very intense series of sonnets by restlessly changing tone, critiques, and language. Each poem pokes at a different nerve, and I can't help but get invested in Elsa's hijinks. While Wong narrates, 'Elsa, everything is dark and getting / even darker, ' there are moments of humor and lightness, of intimacy as well. In short lines one after another, this impeccably constructed book layers critique with interrogation and sincerity. Heavy in implication, our fictional Elsa leaps from the page, walks around our world, and gives us raucous glimpses into hers. --Carmen Gimenez Smith.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780997952421
ISBN-10: 0997952423
Publisher: Black Radish Books
Publication Date: June 5th, 2017
Pages: 82
Language: English