‘The Mask’ – Elisabeth Horan: Upcoming Release

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Place your preorder now for the latest chapbook release from The Broken Spine. Elisabth Horan’s ekphrastic poetry collection is a response to the artwork and life of her idol, Frida Khalo.

Elisabeth Horan is a poet, mother, and small press publisher living in the wilds of Vermont. She is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks and collections, and the Editor-In-Chief of Animal Heart Press. Elisabeth is passionate about discovering new voices and mentoring emerging poets. She is also a fierce advocate for those impacted by mental illness. Read more about Elisabeth here.

Elisabth recently wrote this blog post on the craft of poetry for us, please enjoy!

Here is some advanced praise for this upcoming collection:

‘Personally, I feel passionate about the vast pictorial work of Frida Kahlo, the intrinsic beauty of her self-portraits and the legacy in terms of resilience towards her physical or mental illnesses, despite the suicidal ideas that she herself accepted to suffer. Therefore, it will always be a privilege to read the books by the great American author Elisabeth Horan Ferrel, a distinguished collection of poems honoring Kahlo. Throughout the books, this wonderful writer makes clear her full knowledge about the great Mexican icon of pop culture, sharing without reservation or ambiguity, her wisdom, a matter that I appreciate and celebrate.’ Jorge Montero Calderón, Therapist, Writer, Editor, Translator; Author of Aquihoriedades

‘Personalmente, me apasiona la vasta obra pictórica de Frida Kahlo, la belleza intrínseca de sus autorretratos y su legado en términos de resiliencia hacia las enfermedades físicas o psíquicas, pese a las ideas suicidas que ella misma aceptó padecer. Por lo anterior, siempre será un privilegio leer los  libros de la gran autora estadounidense Elisabeth Horan Ferrel , poemarios exquisitos  en honor a  Kahlo. A lo largo de sus libros, esta maravillosa escritora, deja claro su total conocimiento del gran ícono de la cultura pop mexicana, compartiendo sin reservas ni ambigüedad alguna su sabiduría, asunto que agradezco y celebro.’ – Jorge Montero Calderón, Therapist, Writer, Editor, Translator; Author of Aquihoriedades

‘The rhythmical sense of abandon achieved within these ekphrastic responses, entwined with Frida’s native Spanish, feed a lingering connection between the artist’s and poet’s tenacious spirits.’ – Marcelle Newbold, Managing Editor Rare Swan Press, Editor Nightingale & Sparrow

‘The true test of a folk heroine is her ability to be someone an everyday woman can relate to, can see herself in. It is this common ground with the iconic Frida Kahlo that Elisabeth Huron lays out in The Mask. This collection—written to, for and from one artist to another—is a call for all women (and the men who know how to love them) to discover they, too, live legendary lives.’ – Karen Pierce Gonzalez, Folkheart Press

In ‘The Mask’, Horan doesn’t just write Kahlo, she wears her many faces, sings through her lips. The tensions of this extraordinary life; dualities of place, culture, identity, desire, sex, death, and selfhood, zing elastic on the page. Horan uses language like a dancer uses muscle – from the belly-flutter of a lover, to the vicious stamp of a heel in bright red shoes. There are two women alive, alive in these pages, and both offer the reader their hand, snatch it away, then offer it again. To agree to this dance is to step into the blistering, conflicting, baffling, beautiful fire of living inside one’s art, and heart, beyond any boundaries imposed by society or self. ‘Explode, destroy, take me when you will’. Oh, do, even if it may just burn you to ashes. “He did not follow the rules — / Neither have I / And for this – we succumb.”‘ – Ankh Spice, IceFloe Press, Barren Magazine

‘This ekphrastic work is a knock-out. Horan’s poems are vivid, vibrant and surreal; they are sensual, intoxicating, intimate and gruesome, just like Kahlo’s paintings. “I spin life from an orchid’s lips”- Horan’s voice is as wholly original and powerful as Kahlo’s. The intimate dialogue Horan creates between Kahlo and herself is truly remarkable. Pain is the tether that connects these two brilliant women, and Horan’s level of empathy and respect for Kahlo’s multitude of sufferings and challenges – Diego’s infidelity, her loneliness, her inability to have children, her disability, her fight against the patriarchy – is tender and heartfelt. Horan weaves her own pain into Kahlo’s and builds a supportive space between them. Ultimately, like Horan, it is Kahlo’s withstanding of so much pain and still surviving, still making rich, challenging and evocative art that remains her unwavering legacy of strength – “I touch myself with abandon / I make my art on my own terms”.’ – David Hanlon, author of Spectrum of Flight

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