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February 1998
96 pages  

6 x 8 1/2
9780822956686
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Eve’s Striptease
Kasdorf, Julia Spicher
Construing all of life as a journey that takes us from innocence to knowledge, Eve’s Striptease suggests that the maps that we need for this journey may be found written on our own bodies. Julia Kasdorf writes of a life’s migrations, tracing paths that joyfully enlarge our definitions of love and longing - sometimes embracing conventional values and sometimes subverting them.

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Julia Spicher Kasdorf is associate professor of English and women’s studies at Pennsylvania State University. She is the author of two previous poetry collections: Eve’s Striptease and Sleeping Preacher. Her poems have appeared in the New Yorker, Paris Review, and Poetry, as well as numerous anthologies, including the 2003 Pushcart collection. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, Kasdorf is also the author of The Body and the Book: Writing from a Mennonite Life and Fixing Tradition: Joseph W. Yoder, Amish American.
“‘You are embraced this instant,’ says Julia Kasdorf in one of these poems, and in another, ‘hanging on . . . is our only home.’ Such plainspoken gestures reveal not only the robust particularity of her imagination, but also its sexual nerve and essentially affirmative nature. Crosshatched by body, spirit, and the relation between them; animated by bright instinctive exchanges between carnal and religious zones of experience; driven by an honest, explicitly female consciousness of what ‘animal’ and ‘soul’ might mean, the poems in Eve's Striptease keep pace with a considered life in its search for some consoling ‘homeliness’ in the world.”—Eamon Grennan

"It may initially seem as though Kasdorf has meant to shock the home folks with her new book. Think of her overall themes: Mennonites and sex, a novel connection. Yet Eve's Striptease uses these two lenses to focus on the world. However, viewing the book only in terms of ethnicity and biology trivializes what is a significant work by a brilliant young poet. . . . it is a book about coming to terms with one's sexuality and how that affects one's place in the world. As with Sleeping Preacher, Kasdorf's new work moves through the dichotomous worlds of rural and urban, tradition and innovation, innocence and experience.”—The Pittsburgh Quarterly, Vol. 8 No. 1 Summer 1998

“You have to admire a poet who can take an onion, the flu, houseguests, migraines, and a nurse's coat and turn them in to poetry. Of course, Kasdorf is using the concrete to get a deeper things: there's an amazement at life in these poems, and a hard-headed determination to make it work.”—Library Journal, April 1, 1999

"Most readers will be grateful for the gift outright of Kasdorf's achingly beautiful language of desire and of a "full store" of unavoidable passings from discovery to dark discovery and from expectations and surprises of childhood to retrospections and surprises of adulthood.”—The Mennonite Quarterly Review

“Kasdorf's poetry spans the breadth of her life, from the awakening of sensuality (‘The Sun Lover’) to her experiences as a student at New York University (‘Ladies Night at the Turkish and Russian Baths’) to marriage and family (‘Sixth Anniversary,’ ‘How My Father Learned English.’) Although these are common themes, Kasdorf's elegant use of language elevates her prose. . . . Her poems have an immediate quality that illustrates her ability to explore emotions. . . . Kasdorf's poetry tends to illustrate small situations that have larger implications. . . . Kasdorf also exhibits a keen sense of place in her work, with some lovely descriptions of her birthplace and the magical hold Pennsylvania seems to have on its native sons and daughters.”—Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

“Even though her work covers grand themes, these are poems grounded in the delicious details of corporeal existence: the shimmering blue of hydrangeas in afternoon light, hand-washed goblets, plum tomato vines.”---Mennonot

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As its title proclaims, Eve’s Striptease delivers a female voice that seeks to “find out for (her)self/ all the desires a body can hold.” Through artful acts of revelation and concealment, these poems test experience against the notions of love and loss that tradition and religion have taught us. These narrative and lyric poems celebrate desire, marriage, and domestic life; they visit sexual terror and consider sickness and death. Construing all of life as a journey that takes us from innocence to knowledge, this work suggests that the maps that we need for this journey may be found written on our own bodies. Kasdorf writes of a life’s migrations, tracing paths that joyfully enlarge our definitions of love and longing - sometimes embracing conventional values and sometimes subverting them.
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