God in Her Ruffled Dress
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About the Author
"Lisa Bernstein's God in Her Ruffled Dress is a book of deep seeing, 'the code inside the code, ' the sparks and flickers inside the jazz club. It is also a book of intense listening, 'the bright spurt of trumpet' and the train calling like a late-night lover. Built around a body of spiritual practice, a body of music, and a third body through which we are invited to experience the world (human at times, godly at times), this collection reverberates with the noise and joys of others, a series of divine pleasures transcribed faithfully by a skilled musician and writer. Brava, Lisa."
-D.A. Powell, author of Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys and Repast: Tea, Lunch, and Cocktails
"Lisa Bernstein's stunning God in Her Ruffled Dress weaves together body, spirituality, politics, and the world we live in where religion is turned upside down and 'God who is the bodies of all the men I've loved.' Smart, sensual, and surprising, these poems move seamlessly from Emily Dickinson to type 1 diabetes to jazz to 'the beetle, /the nebula, the ear of corn.' Bernstein's voice is fierce, feminist, and necessary. She shines a flashlight on moments where something larger secures us, 'The night's hands hold her all over/as if she is sinking, ' poems of 'lightbulbs clicking off all at once as the day explodes.' This engaging collection will stir your mind and bring you into beauty, into 'a place so much more multiple than one god's face.' "
-Kelli Russell Agodon, author of Hourglass Museum and Dialogues with Rising Tides
"In God in Her Ruffled Dress, Lisa Bernstein bears écriture feminine into the twenty-first century with grace, wit, and incredible technical dexterity. In the grand tradition of Hélène Cixous, Bernstein challenges the patriarchal logic implicit in grammar and in narrative, revealing instead a radiant dream-logic, 'a violet underside' to language, and the 'glimpses of her own reflected smile' that emerge from each caesura, each subversion. This is a book you won't soon forget."
-Kristina Marie Darling, author of Daylight Has Already Come and Look to Your Left: A Feminist Poetics of Spectacle
"In the best of all possible worlds, a poet might be a poet during the day and a soulful jazz singer at night. And, since Bernstein actually inhabits daringly these two vocations, it's not surprising to find that her book offers a series of superb poems about some of the jazz greats who haunt our collective memory. Yet the poet with two voices also writes poems which could never be sung. And, although music may rouse the spirit, the sutured voice of language, which leaves song behind, often discovers itself in these poems by evoking a kind of strange god (as in the book's title and numerous poems), through words that call down the spirit in ways that are at once promiscuous and defiant."
-Daniel Tiffany, author of Cry Baby Mystic and My Silver Planet: A Secret History of Poetry and Kitsch
"God in Her Ruffled Dress is a dazzling lyrical demonstration of how the gods, within us and without, transcend gender, religious sect, and the limiting distinctions between flesh and spirit. She takes us on a journey through ecstasy and pain: from the highs of great jazz performance to the zen of blood testing for diabetes. These poems lure us in, shake us hard, and make us feel the physicality of the divine."
-Lawrence R. Smith, editor of Caliban