The sack of Rome,
The siege of Florence.
The lights twinkle pink in Fiesole.
Pink furls, pink buds.
Wet pink veiny hearts in spring.
Pink can mean so many things.
Sylvie Baumgartel’s Pink moves from the shadow of the Ponte Vecchio to a mission church in Santa Fe, from Daily Mail reports to a photograph of a girl from Tierra del Fuego, from a grandmother’s advice (“Don’t go to Smith and don’t get fat”) to legs wrapped around “a man who calls me cake.”
Baumgartel, a poet of fierce, intimate, wry language, delivers a second collection about art, history, violence, bodies, fear, pain, reckoning, and transcendence. The poems travel back to the historical, linguistic, and emotional sources of things while surging forward with a stirring momentum, creating a whirlwind of birth and destruction.
"Within the world of a single color, Sylvie Baumgartel's Pink displays an intense and chilling palette: pink of beauty, pink of lust, pink of abandonment. Even framed in the galleries, the paintings she interrogates hold nothing back; often they depict a history unsettlingly alive with blood. These poems remind us we are ourselves inheritors of sexual and political betrayals of the past, of the Old and New Worlds: 'David & Goliath / Both have Caravaggio's face— / Victor & victim same.' Restlessly seeking vision in the truths of the body, Baumgartel leaves us these fragments of her imagination: perverse and reckless and always precise. Sylvie Baumgartel is writing the most striking poems of our moment."—Richie Hofmann, author of Second Empire
"'All of my violence is in the Prado,' the speaker asserts in Sylvie Baumgartel’s arresting second book of poems, Pink. The network of personal, aesthetic and historical associations—revolving around sexual possession, violence, painting, Italy, upbringing—is breathtaking and revelatory, always subverting expectation. In lines disciplined and stark, Baumgartel orchestrates her motifs into poems of lyric grace and unflinching honesty."—Carol Moldaw, author of Beauty Refracted
"One of [Baumgartel's] strengths is her ability to approach grisly subjects without hesitation or theatrical indulgence . . . Baumgartel offers a kinetic and transgressive testament to an age of violence, strangeness, and bewilderment."—Publishers Weekly