Laura Moriarty
Nude Memoir

ISBN 1-928650-07-4
88 pages




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A rehearsal in time
for the dead ones as landscape (handbook)
her book can't know how to
tell you then turns and does
a gloss on the Castle of O? blueprint for Vertigo?
pingpong of sources in vast cinematic bowl
bared body unspeakable
but never at a loss for words
the sheerest proposal there is
trying to come through these pages

--Clark Coolidge

In this Nude Memoir--a roving gallery of nude torsos, nude cadaver toes, nude female lover and dead male lover, nude bride undoing God's and Duchamp's imposed abstract nakedness--a woman is born. She is born of words formed when "a sex (is) offered to a face." She is terrible and she is wonderful. She is film noir married to Baroque. She is sentences, magnificence, lust. She is an edifice of loss materializing and dematerial-izing on a line between poetry and prose that Laura Moriarty casts with the hand of a magician. I, too, dream of stripping bare this figure that the poet has so gorgeously decked out, to get to the heart of her namelessness. Nude Memoir is an entrancing work of love, mourning, and resistance by a major poet.

--Gail Scott

"She is in trouble with time." Is the woman perfected? Can she be saved? Trick questions in the "double present." There is a body, and "An artist. A con artist," a criminal, a killer, whose work positions, immobilizes, dismembers, kills, encrypts her. "The nude is given"--in and into an enclosure where she figures the ground that founds and fractures figuration and enclosure. The reflection-work of the woman artist or poet further complicates this geometry: "In the museum you look back at yourself." The nude gets up and goes for a walk, sits down to write her life. Moriarty follows, directs, acts the work of this body as staggered, stepwise motion building bodies of work, including her own. "The actor is left," a potential for enjambed coincidence that bodies forth coherence on a large scale, while struggling at every join in that construction against the crypt that structure threatens to become. Women, workers, slaves, aliens and monsters, husbands who do not survive, children who are "not born men"--this might include us all, but its very transparency warns against taking that hope as given: "Someone sees through it." Someone dies. Someone survives vertigo by "gaps in recognition," an argument with fate "shored up" by the very irremissibility of time. Someone is both. A double agent. Never quite at once.

Nude Memoir is the best crime story you will read this year. It is also essentially a work of profound and unfinished mourning, of mourning and of not finishing. "One way to remain unfinished is to stop. The other is to go on."

--Taylor Brady