Oral History: A review of Mouthy by Emily Rose Kahn-Sheahan
Thoughtcrime Press, 2016
reviewed by Donna Vorreyer
Emily Rose Kahn-Sheahan is a force onstage and her second book Mouthy (from Thoughtcrime Press) gives the reader both that performance fire, the poems sizzling with crackling imagery and voice, and the quietly woven spell of careful craft.
In the opening title poem, the speaker asserts:
“(you) want the pretty to lay quiet, stop
causing all this fuss , but I got
firecracker teeth popping.
They get me into the good
trouble worth all this voice.”
And a section called The Trouble is what we are led to. The book is organized in sections, and The Trouble is full of the body’s salt and sweat. This is a body that is in control of its desire even when it abandons itself to pleasure, and it does. This is a body that knows how to love itself, even though sometimes it forgets, as in “The Trouble With Resisting Temptation is It May Never Come Again: Fortune Cookie”
How dare I be this body
and forget how beautiful it ripples,
the art in bountiful meat, milk skin.
Curve drunk on my own hips,
I let him deserve me.
And what a treat to read poems about sex that aren’t apologetic or shaming or romanticized – these poems are carnal and funny and poignant and real. The repeated diction of words like hum and shiver buzzes through the book like a current, a live wire that, if touched, will both thrill and hurt us.