This is Emily Ramser’s fourth poetry book to be published and it shows. All have been published under Weasel Press, a self-proclaimed renegade independent publisher of Beat Literature. This small book of thirty pages appears somewhat plain at a glance, but don’t let appearances fool you; the work is anything but ordinary.

Each poem is contained on a single page and bordered by equal amounts of white space within the margins, holding the words tight, as one would hold a lover. There are periodic pages of adjacent illustrations that complement the written works. The artwork is done by Sarah Tolbert, an accomplished artist in her own right, having taught and shown at several art galleries, institutions, and programs on both coasts of the United States. Her pencil-drawn sketches are reminiscent of something done privately in reflection, as if it were a collection of typed work and drawings containing thoughts about a lover, tucked away in a bedside table drawer.

It is a statement. It embraces same-sex love and blazes it across the cover into the face of the community at large, utilizing a trope that was previously given a negative connotation in the title and reclaiming it for something positive.

All this being said, you do not have to be a lesbian to identify with the work within the pages. I noted a common thread in the book: In the poems 1.Queer, 4.I give you my body for my own, and 12.Let me write for you, the use of the word “collarbones” is included in all three poems. In an intimate collection this small, the repeated use stood out like a flashing red light. I assume it is intentional, and believe this beacon shows there is a common thread throughout all love stories, regardless of sexuality — our humanity, our heart.

Like fracturing a collarbone, we are most likely to first experience heartbreak under the age of 25, and it usually occurs in a hard fall. So the tender care of collarbones shown in these works is analogous to the tender care one takes with a lover’s heart, as well as one’s own, and that is where you find the universal.

and I would give you the love line of my left palm
to wear as a necklace

for when you need a reminder
of the way I kissed your collarbones.

From I Give You My Body For My Own ~ Emily Ramser

 

Pat Berryhill

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