Natasha Dennerstein's gestures in this collection are stripped so far back they are practically bleached. The subject is difficult, forget square pegs and round holes, the geometry of Aileen Wuornos was n-dimentional. We hear that female serial killers are a rare thing. I frequently wonder if that might not be too short a sentence, if they might not mean it's rare for female serial killers to be caught. Take this book, this story, in your hands. Take in the bleak snapshots in words. Take Dennerstein's songs of pain and repeated impact: bullet, flesh, insult, sex. See if you can also take some comfort in this being the poet's version, "white female aged 34 at the end of her tether." How are your revenge fantasies? Dennerstein is a poetic master, this collection is a masterwork.
7th Poet Laureate of San Francisco
Natasha is an amazing author, and a fearless advocate for pushing boundaries of politeness, stereotype, static thinking. She comes to us in her new collection, always provoking new and imaginative ways of being, and perceiving. This book is years in the making, and so worth picking up.
- Linda Ravenswood BFA, MA, PhD
Poet and Performance Artist
Founder and EIC, The Los Angeles Press
Through diverse poetic structures and enlisting her lyrical strengths alongside diction that's realistic for a woman branded a "monster," Natasha Dennerstein humanizes Aileen Wuornos, a man-hating killer that America failed to truly see.
Through poems mostly in the voice of Wuornos, readers submerge within a woman that we otherwise write off as criminal. Angry. Crazy. Broken
is a courageous yet sound emotional and psychological autopsy of abuse's consequences, as we wander Wuornos' life from birth until the ashes of assault's girlchild who "hitchhiked her life away," transforming wounds into survival, into murder. Almost immediately in this collection, readers find themselves facing a whole other murderer in this killer's story, a sadistic sequence of atrocious men as the true perpetrator. This collection is a bravely uncomfortable but necessary excursion into the soul of the suffering, when sexual assault enlists women to embody the patriarchy's dirty work.
Poet and educator, author of Cauldrons
About the Author
Natasha Dennerstein was born in Melbourne, Australia, to a family originating in Belarus. She worked as a psychiatric nurse for many years, which gave her an interesting perspective on the human condition. She has an MFA from San Francisco State University. Natasha has had poetry published in many journals, including Landfall, Snorkel, Shenandoah, Bloom, Transfer, Red Light Lit, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Foglifter. Her collections Anatomize (2015) and Triptych Caliform (2016) were published by Norfolk Press in San Francisco.
matt mitchell is an assistant music editor for Paste, and a poet, essayist, and culture critic from Northeast Ohio. Vampire Burrito is his second book of poetry. Find him on Twitter @matt_mitchell48.