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  • With a Sense of Disclosure
  • Ann Bogle (bio)
We Take Me Apart. Molly Gaudry. Mud Luscious Press. 100 pages; paper, $12.00.

I'd rather write a blurb for a book than write a review of it. It's possible—I know because I've seen someone try—to write a blurb without reading a book first. It's possible to understand what an author is trying to do by attitude without cherishing every word, as one hopes the author and editor have done. It's possible to read a book at a glance, but is it possible to write one and keep its receiving that glance in mind? I've read that William S. Burroughs dreamed the reading of books, to save time, while he slept. I've thought that one might become good at faking an understanding of literature, but only after one has become very good at understanding it in fact, that the understanding of any book becomes a repetitive procedure that one hones over time. One could inhale a book's scope in a flip of its pages, as if it were a fragrance that one were after, not a lesson—a scent, not an exercise in diligence. A critic can perceive a book's apparel as a taster can sense a woody note or touch of blackberry in a swish of wine. A seductive author may still wish to lasso us, despite an atmosphere of overly sophisticated or reluctant readers. In her mind, as she writes, she may be knitting, hooking, or crocheting. She may be stirring a soup or setting a trap for mens' jeans with her sunglasses. She may be stylizing her book like a flower arrangement or composing it like a photograph. She may want someone to read it or secretly hope someone won't, because to read it is to find in her what she does not hide of herself, to find in her guise what reveals.

A pretty, still young woman writes a memoir that diverges from truth, sidesteps it, discards its dictates and contents, and veers instead toward space, segue, image, intersection, sonorance, line. ("Sonorousness" is the nominative form of "sonorous" in the dictionary.) A pretty, still young author writes the bones of the female body, its delicate fingers and hands, its full, appealing mouth, its imagined eyes at play, its slender waist and swiveling ankles, narrow, above small, not roughened feet. So female readers may see what male readers may see in us. The book rolls along like a sad, sweet melody a girl has thought of on her car vacation. Her parents hear the song and wonder apart if the girl has a gift for it or whether the girl's singing is child's play, the melody its own child in every daughter's heart.

White space, planes and planes of it, one hundred gentle creases at a spine. We Take Me Apart is a novel's answer to a room, described by its author, Molly Gaudry, and its publisher, Mud Luscious Press, as a novel(la) in verse. I read it three times, not keeping its story, though there is one, but inhaling its perfume, encountering its glance in mine. The book seems designed to be read that way. The scent is delicate and leaves a trace of itself, with nothing to bother the conscience or pester as with topics for a quiz. The book details grace. It will not add up by way of its plotline to a pitch for a story or to the memory of one of its images that stands in for the story itself, as with many stories one image will do; it will haunt like a remembrance of fragrance or swoosh of hair or panoply of mother as tart then sweet and suddenly elusive as memories of one's own.

Writing that asks us about our divides: fiction/poetry is the most usual, but there are others: fiction/non-fiction, poetry/prose poetry, prose/poetry, narrative/ verse, and so on. We Take Me Apart puts our divisions to a test. It might have been defined as a long poem—one hundred pages would be considered...


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