Take This Stallion
Author: Anaïs Duplan
Publisher: Brooklyn Arts Press (2016)
"I have never before read a book like Anaïs Duplan's Take This Stallion. H34 major talent is recognizing the self in the other, making for poems that flow forward in a tone of oneness—is oneness a tone?—poems that make evident an ever-expanding world by opening themselves up into that world. This debut does what poets in their fifth or sixth collections are still trying to figure: it balances the intellect, image, music, and emotion in ways so unfamiliar that a blurb couldn't possible characterize the work."
“For all the ways we pad our language with qualifier, with apology, with hedge, Anaïs Duplan is antidote. Her poems are talkative, inappropriate, obsessive, and sexy. They put everything on the table and if there’s no table, she erects one: of the mechanic’s lobby, of men selling peanuts at her door, of the George Washington Bridge underpass, of the ocean. Sometimes the poems hang the air with obsession like tangential rope. like snake. Sometimes they pick up their skirts and dust the ground. Duplan’s work is at once this methodical, and this unhinged. She confirms a fear that drones and Kim Kardashian have more to do with our therapy sessions than we wish. And then at times, she puts all that away, and the poems wash out their mouths. This first collection is, after all, of this world. And though it might be haunted by a voice that says 'Don’t be too cocky,' on nearly every page it talks back. Heroic, inspired, and smart: these poems are on their own two feet, saying 'I’m always cocky.'”
–francine j. harris
“Take This Stallion is the sound of a generation finding its voice; it is a sound of a generation that has more rapidly than any since the generation that came of age in the 1960’s turned the world on its head, both exposing the faithlessness of the generations before it, and reifying the promises those generations made. Listen: 'When she was lost to them / they took to striking / each other over the head with empty fists, / striking until blood ran freely in the city / ditches. All of this sounding like horses thundering / into each other, peeling themselves / off of each other, and thundering / again. The whole city, this sound.' In Take This Stallion, the whole city is made new, and the maker who re-makes it is new, and the songs they sing as they work are the new songs.”