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Tor Rose
Frayed Edges
Tor Rose, author

Adult; Poetry; (Market)

Frayed Edges is an evocative and thought-provoking collection that pays homage to the unfiltered human experience. Embodying the delicate balance between strength and vulnerability, these poems showcase both the serrated and fragile aspects of life. Within these pages, readers will explore the psychological burdens that accompany personal growth, the yearning for a meaningful existence, and a sardonic perspective that occasionally offers respite from life's bleakness. In a world that emphasizes perfection, Frayed Edges is a poignant reminder to embrace the flaws that define our individuality.
Rose’s probing, conversational poems capture, with stinging insight and still-raw pain, a young woman’s disillusionment with a New York life that turns out—in this age of “content,” “hollow consumption,” and “social media debauchery”—not to feel like she had imagined, growing up, gripped by what she now calls the “Carrie Bradshaw Complex.” And yet Frayed Edges finds her hope and her jadedness still facing off against each other. “How many rounds / I wonder, / will it take in the ring / until the hopeless romanticism / knocks me out for good?” she asks in “I [Lupi] Solitari,” which moves from a celebration of “midnight dalliances / with a side of cheap wine” to examine Rose’s most pained but fruitful subject: the self, in all its faintly embarrassing [in]glory.

“But who am I, really?” she continues, with a chiding tone, suggesting there’s something ridiculous in “Writing sonnets of fantasies about fleeting men.” But the last lines offer witty justification: “The vacancy of these pages / need their fix, too.” That’s funny but also revealing. It’s through the creation of art— through poems that dissect life’s messiness and disappointment—that this narrator finds relief, power, pleasure, actualization, and stability. Rose explores pleasures, too, in Frayed Edges, like morning coffee, the revivifying powers of Lucky Strikes, and the “wild and benevolent women” she relishes counting as friends.

But much of this inviting, accessible collection has at its heart Rose’s relationship with writing itself, as poems search for uncompromised truths about the isolation of an artist’s life: “Most importantly, / never trust yourself. / And trust only yourself.” A preface suggests that creating this work has helped the author navigate this world, and the verses throughout seem to capture a mind in playful, urgent self-definitional work that becomes both subject and purpose. “I’m just a dangerously cognizant girl / poeticizing her complaints,” Rose writes, and despite the occasional lumpy stanza she demonstrates the cognizance—plus savvy and self-knowledge and talent for surprise—to make those complaints sing.

Takeaway: Inspired poems of a romantic spirit pitted against New York in the era of content.

Comparable Titles: Kate Baer, Hannah Sullivan.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A-