Thursday, January 20, 2011

Feminaissance Blog Project: Claire Donato

Whilst straddling a speaker who has ‘located her voice’
Claire Donato

For the past two years, I’ve been reading and analyzing Cosmopolitan Magazine’s online Sex Tips and Tricks from Guys. For those of you not in the know, ST&T is devoted to “guys [revealing] secret sex tips guaranteed to drive them wild”—which is to say, in this vortex, boys reminisce about their kinkiest sexual encounters and declare things like a girl who looks virginal but is really a sex kitten is every man’s dream.

To probe (urm...) the vocabulary and syntax of ST&T, and the arrangements of words and phrases that make up these tips (ha!), I’ve begun to compose a series of poems, two of which are here. For my tiny revolt, I’ve revisited the land of ST&T and combined syntax and choice phrases from The Boys with (Very Spliced Up) commentary appropriated from male-authored reviews of women’s writing. I’ve tried to retain as much original syntax from ST&T where possible.

(Note: I’m largely uninterested in binary distinctions of gender—everything is better in triplicate+++—but since Cosmo is so utterly and conventionally gendered, I must succumb to words like man and woman to revolt. How second wave! For a more fluid engagement with gender, check out this collaboration with Leslie Patron in OCHO 25.

Enjoy, and read Feminaissance!

Whilst straddling a speaker who has ‘located her voice’

Sex dash love.

Everything here hurts.

Lean over.

In one sense, bear light

Whilst straddling a speaker

Who has

Located her voice.

Place your hands against the tar.

Place your hands atop this

Fine little book.

Place your hands over the


Of pillows, a record of

Loss it does not shy away

It is a textual haunting.

On horseback, the speaker maintains

Her material shape, grotesquely

Sublime, galloping

Across the fluid

Eddies of your mind, demanding this

Run-on sentence.

O, read

How she is twofold,


The past from the head of your

Penis with

Interminable wit, & her



Endlessly, endlessly


Over your gift

Of iconic restraint.

(This external link may also succeed

In erasing her surrogate name.)

And thus one week later, her breasts

Are two stories.

Brunette, her adjectives come,

A new word each time.

Is her willingness to collapse

Into the illumination of a body

A search for hands

That force their

Critique on you

And weigh you

Down? O, time

Bogged down in


Tells us,

Confront her

As author, question

Her lack of


On the surface, & strip


From rare books; lie back

And—raising her arms, breasts, and

Thighs—Madly, mawkishly

She interrupts.

She interrupts

To say what?

CLAIRE DONATO lives in Brooklyn, NY. Recent poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Boston Review, Gulf Coast, Denver Quarterly, and Octopus. She holds an MFA from Brown University, where she received the John Hawkes Prize in Fiction. She is a member of the Electronic Literature Organization and currently teaches at The New School. Her hometown is Pittsburgh, PA.

1 comment:

bill said...

..."the collapse into the illumination of the body",...indeed, a terrific tip and trick for us all to honor. thanks for the lighting display...