Title

The Veronica Maneuver

Document Type

Book

Publication Date

2015

Abstract

Jennifer Moore's debut collection takes its title from a bullfighting technique in which the matador draws the bull with his cape; in these poems, however, traditional moves are reconfigured and roles are subverted. In a broader sense, the word "veronica" (from the Latin vera, or "true" and the Greek eikon, or "image") functions as a frame for exploring the nature of visual experience, and underscores a central question: how do we articulate events or emotions that evade clear understanding? In order to do so, the figures here perform all manner of transformations: from vaudeville star to cartoonist's daughter, from patron saint to "Blue-Eyed Torera;" they are soothsayers, apothecaries, curators, often conjuring selves out of thin air. This dilating and "shape-shifting" of perspective becomes a function of identity: "the absorber and the absorbed become one." Indeed, both speaker and listener must be crafted-willed into being-by each other ("Be your own maestro"), and are apparitions until then. Through a flick of the wrist or a trick of the eye, these speakers understand that construction of a self comes only through performance of that self—which performances are often punctuated with a wink, an unswerving gaze, or both at once. (Publisher's Description)

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