Rouge Pulp explores notions of body and beauty, birth and death, in a contemporary America driven by its contradictions: material plenty and spiritual lack. Dorothy Barresi writes about strippers, hair salons, cancer, good credit ratings, cockfights, childbirth, maternal love, war. Her poems take the world’s brutal vitality as their music, and they refuse to despair.
There's so much grief and anger, awe and laughter and love, in these poems—so much of the whole human dynamic—that they could power a small city in the Midwest, with enough juice left over to shock the terminally earnest back to life.
Poems of the body. Of the immigrant. Of grief. Of motherhood. Of and about beauty. Hart Crane. Otto Plath. Even the last Kennedy. And all of them deeply American. And all of them written with the clear eye and honest speech we have come to expect of Dorothy Barresi.
. . . Barresi's real strength is her humor, and she shows it off in hilarious riffs on the circus of beautification . . . And when she has a subject that hits right on her central obsession, Barresi's wit can shine brightly, as in her elegy to a burlesque star . . . a real atom smasher.
'Rouge Pulp' is one of the most memorable, original books of poetry to appear in a long time.""Part Sylvia Plath, part John Donne, Barresi handles both surprise and expectation with deftness, displaying uncommon verbal ingenuity and inteligence of investigation. . . . 'Rouge Pulp' spins poems of startling megaphysical imagae shot through with slang and pop culture. . . . How many poets can be simultaneously funny and terrifying? Not many, but Dorothy Barresi is one of them.""Is this a sock-hop, a strip-tease, or a dance of death? The poems of Rouge Pulp are, astonishingly, all of these. . . . Barresi's work transcends category or camp, and Rouge Pulp is one of the most memorable, original books of poetry to appear in a long time.
[Barresi] becomes our Virgil, as we tour the various circles of our world, witnessing all the violence and pain which daily fill our consciousness. Yet despite this, she exhibits a new sense of confidence and power.
Barresi's work is literate, clever, clear, and powerful. . . . I am going to go back and read the poems in "Rouge Pulp' again and again. I urge you to do the same.
The kind of poetry that intrigues a reader. . . . Barresi brings a really strong voice to the literary scene. Her poems resonate in a language which speaks to people as human beings, members of the tribe, a sharable trait in success and faiure: a proud display in the daylight of frailty.
Dorothy Barresi is the author of four previous books of poetry: American Fanatics; Rouge Pulp; The Post-Rapture Diner, winner of an American Book Award; and All of the Above, winner of the Barnard New Women Poets Prize. She is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes and Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council. She is professor of English and creative writing at California State University, Northridge.learn more