Villainelle

Villainelle
Coach House, 1994

From Publishers Weekly

Crosbie ( Miss Pamela’s Mercy ) clearly enjoys playing the role of a Rimbaud-like poet outlaw, a swooning bad girl in chainmail and garters. Her overheated imagination gushes the stagey gothic imagery reminiscent of B-movie versions of Poe. At times she strikes an innocently campy note, as in “Painting with Elke Sommer,” where delicate mockery dilates into a fuzzy mysticism: “I paint portrait after portrait / of big-eye Elkes; the resemblance is perfect, / but the eyes are colossal. they are pools / of tranquillity, they reduplicate my soul. / and in their corners, a few tears well and glisten, / my artist’s heart is fragile.” In an unconvincing attempt to shock and titillate, many of the poems are dedicated to or quote from the likes of Medea, Jack the Ripper, the serial killer Aileen Wrornos and Xaviera Hollander. This adolescent posturing, however, only partly obscures Crosbie’s genuine gift for the incantatory power of language. Once she reins in her enthusiasm for ersatz Grand Guignol effects, her poems may ring with the more natural music of her own voice.

Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.