“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.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-