Girl on a Bridge
60 pp., Main Street Rag
Suzanne Frischkorn, for her second full length collection, girl on a bridge, offers an inward look at the domestic realities of life as a mother and wife. We are given access to the narrator's past, present, fears, inquisitive musings, and celebrations connected to domesticity. Still, this is not your typical 'I am woman, hear me roar' collection of poems. Frischkorn gives the reader something infinitely more satisfying and complex to consider---trusting the reader to be able to digest a more complex self-image and self-defined perception, which is not limited to mere feminism.
If anything is predictable about the poems in girl on a bridge, it is in the organization, which first gives us poems which relate events from a childhood and have a lasting impact on the narrator. Other than that, what comes to be expected is how Frischkorn easily takes our expectations and forces us to abandon them as she tells the story of how a girl becomes a woman, how a woman becomes a wife and mother, and how a wife and mother maintains the all too vital connection with her humanity.
Several themes thread themselves in and out, and throughout the poems in girl on a bridge. Family, the difficult relationships between mother and daughter, motherhood, and of course the development of an individual. Choosing a few lines from one of my favorite poems in the book, "Perpetual Motion" one reads:
This platinum band
will not slide past my knuckle.
The sapphire flanked in diamonds
cuts off my circulation
now, when I need the comfort
of circumference most.
The narrator suggests there is an unnatural slowing to the natural arc of an individual in the act of marriage. It is a common enough fear, related with exquisite precision.
In the short poem, "Peony," Frischkorn offers a wonderfully sharp discussion between husband and wife when it comes to asserting and maintaining a persona for a woman in a modern marriage:
My husband hands his fever over
as if he slit open a woman
to reveal a yellow spray―
warm, firm, and infinite.
I whisper through wax red petals,
"I am not your mother."
As the book progresses, Frischkorn pulls the reader into deeper and deeper water. It's akin to the old parable about the frog in a pot of water. Before the reader realizes anything is amiss it is too late for us to get away without swallowing at least some of the provocative waters of this book― not that we would want to. Frischkorn delights with every turn of the page, creating a compelling place for the reader to observe, and possibly stay for a little while.
Suzanne Frischkorn has, with her second book, departed stylistically from her first book, but she still demands a lot from herself. I really enjoyed this book for its narrative characteristics, for the stories it tells. These poems are precise, exact, and anything but quiet. As with the other books I have reviewed here, you should go out and buy this book. If you are not already a fan of Frischkorn's poetry, this book will draw you in, and it's a fine place to be.
Causes Suzanne Frischkorn Supports
Girls Write Now