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venus.jpg
Earthenware Fertility Figure
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Felicia gives an overview of the book:

This collection includes poems that give voice to women in paintings, sculptures, and photographs.  Each title is the title of a well-known work of art, or nude.  For example, "Nudist Lady with Swan Sunglasses" connects the famous photograph by Diane Arbus invoked by the title with the myth of Leda and the Swan.  A copy is currently available on Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/doc/30591078
Read full overview »

This collection includes poems that give voice to women in paintings, sculptures, and photographs.  Each title is the title of a well-known work of art, or nude.  For example, "Nudist Lady with Swan Sunglasses" connects the famous photograph by Diane Arbus invoked by the title with the myth of Leda and the Swan.  A copy is currently available on Scribd:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/30591078

Read an excerpt »

VENUS OF MEADOWVIEW
 
My body was round once,
my stomach an inner tube
in the sea of my pregnancy.
Even my legs inflated 
to keep me afloat with child
as I looked down and watched
my breasts drifting from
my center of gravity to my son's.
Now there is nothing left,
save a few ripples of flesh
and some silver streaks 
that emerge when I bathe.
But I remember my belly floating.
I remember holding onto it for life.
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NUDIST LADY WITH SWAN SUNGLASSES
 
 
I didn't come to this camp
to advertise my body,
just to let it air out
and loose all its stays.
So when that swan leapt at me
like my own tomcat in heat,
I was annoyed.
But I can tell you now,
swans do not sing sweetly
before they die.
The sound is more like
a tire going flat,
or flatulence.
 
These glasses are my trophy.
I carved them from what was left
of that swan's bill and bones
after I got through with him.
 
They don't really count
as clothes. 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EARTHENWARE FERTILITY FIGURE
 
 
Breasts erect with milk
are firm and hard and burn
when there is no child to suck
the fire out of them.  They
 
exaggerate the clay flesh,
explain the open mouth
ajar with labor pains and lead
us to the eyes, half closed,
 
caught in a grimace that
every woman wants to wear
if she wants to bear the child
that will climb out of her belly
and back on top of it to suck
 
the milk right out of the earth
that forms the human figure.
 
----------------------------------------------------

GREEK TORSO, 5TH CENTURY B.C.
 
 
Even without the insinuated head,
she has all the plastic essentials
male artists have been duplicating
for two thousand years:
 
two breasts separated by a chisel,
the sculpted mound of a stomach,
and a line of demarcation at the legs.
Some man air-brushed the sex
others since then have been trying
to flesh out without upstaging the penis. 
 
But I like how her knees turn in,
compressing the weight of her thighs,
and how one breast is smaller.

----------------------------------------------------
 
"Venus of Meadowview" and "Nudist Lady With Swan Sunglasses" first appeared in
Columbia: A Journal of Literature and the Arts

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Contact the poet for a copy of the printed chapbook.

About Felicia

Felicia Mitchell grew up in South Carolina and North Carolina and lived in Georgia and Texas prior to moving to Virginia in 1987 to take a job at Emory & Henry College.  She has lived and worked in rural Washington County since then, writing a column for...

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Published Reviews

Jan.10.2010

I love the first poem of Felicia Mitchell’s new chapbook of poems The Cleft of the Rock. “Alley” is an existential manifesto that essentially states, “I go; therefore I am.” It is a poem about temptation...