EDITH by Meg Freitag
EDITH by Meg Freitag
Edith by Meg Freitag was selected by Dorianne Laux as the winner of the 2016 BOAAT Book Prize.
SHIPS FALL 2017
“No one is free” says Bob Dylan, “even the birds are chained to the sky.” Edith is a book about a bird, a beloved bird that dies an untimely death and is mourned accordingly. Edith is ethereal, part muse, part icon, part confidant, her name echoes through the poems in what Pound would call the “manner of the musical phrase”, the way the name Tarumba sounds through the work of the Mexican poet Jaime Sabines, or the name Naomi in Bill Knott’s first collection, repeats itself like a talisman.
She disappears only to reappear, spreading her wings over memory, loneliness, and self-imposed solitude, an ordinary life extraordinarily told. Freitag’s imagination flutters and swerves. A lyric and apocalyptic vision of love lost, these are poems of the murmuring, devouring self, written with the leaping exuberance of appetite, full of dark humor and underlying tenderness. The surreal sensibility that drives these poems is full of surprise and precision, the images original, piling on top of one another:
“The stars fell into the river and rusted.”
“…The moon drains its blood / into an ocean on the other side of the world”.
“…the old life with its milk of tiny diamonds.”
In a time when so much of our poetry seems ironic and detached, its language overwrought or restrained, its associations timid or excessively mentalized, it’s a true pleasure to encounter this fresh new voice, vibrant and full of the wild sap of life. And like Edith, chained to the sky.
— Dorianne Laux
Meg Freitag was born in Maine. She has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA from UT Austin's Michener Center for Writers. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Tin House, Boston Review, Indiana Review, and Black Warrior Review, among others. Her first book, EDITH, was selected by Dorianne Laux as the winner of the 2016 BOAAT Book Prize and will be published by BOAAT Press in Fall 2017. She currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Love in the Time of Cards Against Humanity
Edith once again I found myself
Accidentally rocking out
To the Christian radio station while alone
In my car. Meanwhile, on NPR,
The world was running out
Of water. The world was at war.
When I’m in love I find myself
Having more stake in the world, suddenly
Terrified of: war drafts, drunk drivers,
Dormant volcanoes, the inevitable
Heat death of the universe, microbes
In the water supply, the precarious nature
Of icebergs, biblical plagues, pretty much
Anything they talk about on the news.
On the news they talk about
An Instagram picture of a young boy
Holding up the severed head
Of a soldier. His father stands next to him,
Holding another head. In another place,
Fifteen people are killed as they sleep
On the floor of a school. Little kids
Asleep on the linoleum, then
Not. Little kids with other people’s blood
On their tee-shirts. Little kids who dream
About bombs. When I wake up
Before him I put my head on his chest
And listen to make sure his heart
Is still sloshing around in there.
I didn’t ask to have this much
To lose, Edith, I didn’t! I find solace
In the idea that one day we’ll find
Another planet to start over
Fucking up. I want to raise my children
There, each in their own indestructible
Silver pod. I can’t imagine how many disposable
Coffee cups I’ve gone through
In this life, how many pounds of cherries
I’ve let rot in the fridge. All day today
I lay on the sofa, drinking La Croix
In the air-conditioning, getting bummed out
About a pair of earrings I can’t afford
On eBay. This morning I woke myself up
Crying. In my dream
My iPhone had a cracked screen.
I Had This Dream About Kayaks and You Were in It!