Crawford’s poems say no to aesthetic distance. They ask you—and me—to jump into the pool with them, to join them up in the attic, and not to climb out. Their performance of girlhood seems, to them and to me, an amazed alternative to the compromises and the logical consequence of any well-ordered, decorous, appropriately attired adult world. The poems are like temporary, miniature, wilder alternatives to that world, “like an entire town underneath the Christmas tree, if you think about it” (which also works as a figure for poetry in general). The poems are like Christmas-tree miniatures, but they are also like erotic fantasies, envisioning impossible transformations, such as Emily Dickinson as a high school swimmer, or myself as a woman, a girl. “She rammed her head into my mouth, in the pool. I hid her letters in my bra. There’s a part of my brain that’s like the zipper on a sleeping bag, a cluster of pine trees, a telephone cord,” she writes.
The Haunted House in the Switchback catalog.
The Haunted House at SPD.