Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 16 May 2011

  • Broken Dolls Day

    June 3, Japan

    The stitched would never
    heal. Nor could the smallest finger

    missing of a hand be glued to a pudgy
    plastic palm. She lies on her back—bye-bye

    It is over. Around her those of the lost
    screws, stuck eyes, detached

    wires, burnt hair, punctured torso;
    brother work, dog work, left out

    in the rain. Played out. Over the wood,
    wax, plastic, porcelain, papier maché,

    straw, leather, resin & cloth,
    the four-foot hunchbacked monk

    bows his ancient bald head.
    O broken ones, we are

    the careless world—forgive us
    for we wore you as ourselves.

    by Jeanne Marie Beaumont

    'Broken Dolls Day' is taken from Burning of the Three Fires by Jeanne Marie Beaumont. Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd., 2010. The poem is reprinted by permission of BOA Editions.

    Notes courtesy of BOA Editions:

    Jeanne Marie Beaumont earned her Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University. Her first book, Placebo Effects, was selected by William Matthews as a winner of the 1997 National Poetry Series and was published by W.W. Norton. With Claudia Carlson, she co-edited the anthology The Poets' Grimm: Twentieth Century Poems from Grimm Fairy Tales (Story Line). For seven years she was publisher and co-editor of the literary magazine American Letters & Commentary. She has also worked as a proofreader, a medical editor, and an advertising copywriter. She has taught at Rutgers University and the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan, and she currently directs the Frost Place Advanced Seminar and serves on the faculty for the Stonecoast low-residency MFA Program.

    Burning of the Three Fires, from which 'Broken Dolls Day' comes, shows Jeanne Marie Beaumont using her characteristic variety of techniques: dramatic monologues, lists, prose poems, nonce forms, object poems, and ekphrasis, to which she has added an exploration of biography, elegy, and rites. Among its layered themes, this book takes a multifaceted look at womanhood: there are dolls, historic and modern girlhoods, mythic retellings of characters from Goldilocks to the Bride of Frankenstein, emotionally charged domestic trinkets, and even a conversation with Sylvia Plath conducted via an 8-Ball.

    You can learn more about Jeanne Marie Beaumont from her website, and read and listen to her poems read by Garrison Keillor here (though you might have to download the free RealPlayer first).

    BOA Editions, Ltd., a not-for-profit publisher of poetry and other literary works, fosters readership and appreciation of contemporary literature.  By identifying, cultivating, and publishing both new and established poets and selecting authors of unique literary talent, BOA brings high quality literature to the public.  Support for this effort comes from the sale of its publications, grant funding, and private donations.  To find out more about BOA Editions, click here.

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