BOMBlog’s Word Choice features original works of poetry, fiction, and art. This edition of Word Choice, selected by Richard J. Goldstein, features poetry by T. Zachary Cotler and art by Clare Stephenson.
The lines for and of Olivia run a curious parallel between T. Zachary Cotler’s poem and recent monumental silkscreen prints on wood by Clare Stephenson. This cross-current is best elucidated by an elusive presence streaming through both works . . . . A tenuous breeze curls through the space of Cotler’s Olivia as “the cold, nine-second ladder / in her spine,” perhaps the same chill that rustles the pages of the book, the same breeze lifting the skirts and wraps of Stephenson’s angels-cum-drag queens who teeter asymmetrically at high-heeled-heights. The decadence in both poem and print are rife with a sense of impending decay, literary and aesthetic, which prove to be too much for the characters. Olivia turns away; Stephenson’s troupe wavers flaunted and flawed. What shakes them is their connection to beauty, their reveling and revelation in it. Their responses picture an experience of beauty that attracts and repels.
– Richard J. Goldstein