Bone & Ink Press, in collaboration with dancing girl press, presents: Riding with Anne Sexton, a chapbook by Jen Rouse.
Here we are, darling, in the car. Vodka fresh and radio blaring. I know the bottom of that glass like I know god—and neither ends or begins in me, but I go on and you remain. Cherry red, lipstick-stained cigarette, and your name against my name. Anne. And this pain. That curls up on the leather beside you and calls you home.
-from “Riding with Anne Sexton”
Riding with Anne Sexton is part love letter, part elegy, and wholly an examination of the creative self through the trope of the suicidal woman poet. Rouse's Sexton is no delicate, doomed butterfly, but a bold moth soaked in bourbon and swagger. Both serious and at times joyfully comic, this collection examines the muse as both spark and all consuming fire, offering both inspiration and endless frustration.
-Kristy Bowen, dancing girl press
Please, trace this shooting star
of sadness across my brain—
let me know all the whorls
of your fingertips, let the touch
of you bring me back. Or let me
go. Please let me go.
After Sylvia Plath committed suicide in 1963, Anne Sexton penned the poem “Sylvia’s Death.” In it, she wrote: Thief!— / How did you crawl into, / crawl down alone / into the death I wanted so badly and for so long. For years, I remembered it wrong; remembered someone telling me she’d actually said: “That bitch. Her death should have been mine.” I felt that way reading the poems in Riding with Anne Sexton—they should have been mine. They are at once painfully personal and weirdly universal, or at least, universal for anyone who has ever been half in love with easeful death, anyone who has made art from pain, anyone who has been fiercely alive even in the midst of all that. Jen Rouse has given the madness-muse a name. Her name is Anne. Her name is Jen. Amen.
-Jessie Lynn McMains, Bone & Ink Press
In the Valley of Fire, her Mercury
Cougar sighs and purrs one last time,
gives up the ghost. There’s just enough
battery power left to blare The Doors
as the heat begins to slither its
way into the open windows. He’s
hell bent on dying, you know? Loves
the Mojave and a good trip.
-from “Ride the Snake”
Projected release date: late August, 2018
28 pages / vellum covers
$10 + $2 shipping w/ in the US
$10 + $5 shipping everywhere else
First thirty people to order will receive a letterpress broadside of “If You Give Anne Sexton a Cookie”