Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Elizabeth Taddonio's Stone Boats

Spooky Girlfriend Press is treading new water this year by releasing Elizabeth Taddonio’s new chapbook Stone Boats, a kind of hybrid between non-fiction vignettes and prose poetry. Taddonio calls the work a “ghost baby” exploring “total displacement” alternate universes, and paths not taken where she may have been a scientist as opposed to a journalism major, or a mother “having kids and letting them name themselves.” Taddonio certainly names herself as she allows herself to recall childhood at the gas station, collect puppy teeth, and consider various ghost selves. In a strange moment of contradiction however, Taddonio says that “Ghosts are not even real.” There seems to be a tone of internal conflict in the text, a landscape that is at once hopeful and foreboding, as Taddonio wonders, “Maybe I am getting dark” and a friend tells her that “yes, you might be dead.” And yet, there are moments of such strange beauty here. The stories about Taddonio’s mother were especially touching, even if these memories include sunburns and dead skin. The last story also left an impression, watching people stand in the ocean “like moons, fake moons,” guiding turtles toward a light that the real moon can no longer provide for them. Stone Boats provides a light for its readers as well, and is well worth the read.

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