Review: Theory of Orange, by Rachel M. Simon

My review of Theory of Orange is in this month’s Bookslut:

In characterizing Theory of Orange as comfort food, I’m not trying to be patronizing — rather, it strikes me that her basic method is to take a familiar conceit and dislocate it. The lead poem, for instance, “Recipe for Success,” borrows its rhetoric from those horrid cross-stitch patterns of bromides such as “Recipe for a Happy Home”: Take a pinch of X, a dash of Y, and so on. Simon’s poem shifts rapidly between different registers. There’s silliness: “Consider what a cape / might do for your aesthetic.” Familiar, yet secret, knowledge: “Pitch your voice two feathers louder / than the hush of meeting your girlfriend’s / older brother.” But then there’s the recognition of goads to ambition: “Dispose of any mementos / in your memento box to which / the associated memory does not evoke / instant boils.” Elsewhere, Simon draws on experiences that are instantly familiar to those of us who moved away from our parents’ homes to a big city apartment — for example, she recurs twice (in “Wolcott Avenue” and “Early Correspondence”) to the ability to control the heat for oneself.

Read the whole thing!

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