Micro Review of Women’s Poetry: Poems and Advice, by Daisy Fried

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Womens Poetry

Micro Review of Women’s Poetry: Poems and Advice, by Daisy Fried


Pitt Press, 2013: $15.95 paperback


Fried in Women’s Poetry: Poems and Advice is as cavalier in her narratives a griot stepping along the edges of a campfire; or maybe she’s more casual than that, just some family member chirping some personal drama into your ear: “‘We’re getting divorced. I want full custody,’” the speaker’s sister says to her over the phone, while the speaker wanders through Hartford’s Cabela’s in the poem “Lyric.”  “Automatically in my mind I side against her,” the speaker says, reminding the reader that, on one hand, we’ve walked into this scene removed from a much larger story; on the other hand, she’s giving us access to a more emotionally honest version of the speaker than the sister on the other line is privy to. It’s remarkably duplicitous, but it’s also a remarkably personal way to engage the reader, and it’s one of the many devices of hers worth admiring.


That and her poem “Torment,” which opens up this collection with, “‘I fucked up bad,’” and then rolls on for a full seven pages.  To hear it read out loud is even better. “Torment” and her poem that closes the collection, “Ask the Poetess: An Advice Column,” with wisdom drops like: “I advise you to go back to school and, this time around, flunk a couple of classes. If you can—it won’t be easy—flunk out. It may change your life.” Which is actually good advice for building character and perspective, even if it’s bad advice for building a career. Fried has a brilliant sense of humor and timing, a wit that cuts, and she doesn’t apologize to the objects/subjects of her humor because, well, they fucking deserve it. And that’s what’s most rewarding about Fried’s book—she doesn’t give the reader the poems they expect; she gives the reader the poems they deserve.


—by Travis Mossotti