Ploughshares reviews the new Coeur de Lion, by Ariana Reines

By Harriet Staff


Ariana Reines's Coeur de lion has just been reprinted by Fence Books--good thinkin, as the original mal-o-mar edition has been sold out for a while. Also exciting: this lion-heart is a return to the pocket book! And it's just been reviewed for Ploughshares. Scott Stanfield writes:

Unlike The Cow—which wore the full armor of the avant-garde, bristling with dislocation, disjunction, and appropriations from sources as diverse as the Koran, Rilke, and the Merck Veterinary Manual—Coeur de Lion is shockingly plain, frank, and exposed, almost a return to confessional poetry. It runs the risk of sometimes sounding like a teenager’s journal (“It took some courage for me to call you / Because you’d been kind / Of distant and I saw the effort / You were making to be pleasant / With me”), the risk of humiliating admissions (“I read some of what she wrote / To you when I broke into your gmail account”), and the risk of plain-spoken honesty about the life of one’s body, of which the quoted lines about the smell of cheese are a relatively tame example. Yet every risk pays off; Coeur de Lion has the gravitational pull of a black hole. A year ago, copies were fetching three-figure prices on used book sites.

Fence Books’ new edition of Coeur de Lion will cut an even wider swathe. It has some of the poignancy of Dickinson’s “Master” letters, as we witness a fiercely intelligent and creative woman trying to understand the depth of her feeling for a much less intelligent and less creative man. It has some of the texture of a campus novel, with the couple bombarding each other with books (Bataille, Sebald) and music (Diamanda Galas, Arthur Russell) and ducking out of seminars with Alain Badiou in order to have sex in a bathroom.

There's more, there's more! Read the entire review here.

Originally Published: September 21st, 2011