Her new memoir is I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl.
Late last month I asked Groom what she was reading. Her reply:
Tomaz Salamun, A Ballad for Metka KrasovecView the trailer for I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl, and learn more about the book and author at Kelle Groom's website.
Denise Duhamel, Kinky
Kenneth Koch, New Addresses
Frank O’Hara, Lunch Poems
May Swenson, The Love Poems of May Swenson
I’ve been reading Tomaz Salamun and Denise Duhamel, for joy. My friend Janean and I were talking about alcoholism, and Janean said, “Barbie is bottoming out.” A quote from Denise Duhamel’s poem, “Barbie Joins a Twelve Step Program” in Kinky. Which sent me back to these thrilling, satiric poems featuring Barbie in many guises, i.e., “Beatnik Barbie”: “Talk about failure./ Barbie couldn’t snap.” Tomaz Salamun’s first complete single volume in English translation (by Michael Biggins) is A Ballad for Metka Krasovec. Everything is a surprise in Salamun’s poems: “Blue circles in the mouth - /garlic for the heart,/wind-blown ashes at the edges of a hexagram - / of years.” When I read these poems, I’m excited to be in the same world as him: “This time I washed my head./ But that doesn’t prevent/the cries of my overseas monsters./ I’m at work/On the way./I comfort them ALL” (from “the dance”). From the title poem: “Metka was sick and pale./I returned the blood to her face.” Salamun writes, “I’m here./My hands shine.” Duhamel and Salamun made me long for Frank O’Hara’s Lunch Poems and Kenneth Koch’s New Addresses too. Reading O’Hara and Koch made me so glad to be alive, I remembered the sweetness of May Swenson’s celebratory Love Poems, and returned to them as well: “In love are we made visible.”
The Page 99 Test: I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl.