The Terrible Baby
poems by Rebecca Cook
dancing girl press, 2006
"In Rebecca Cook’s intense and powerful poems we encounter “an uproar of wings beating glossy flying straight through the body,” what Gaston Bachelard describes as “intimate immensity,” the way the body reflects the cosmos, and object the world around it, the inner world the outer world. In this finely wrought world, Cook can “Take down the bluebird wing and bring it home. / That piece of sky hanging over the water by / threads, the moon reflected in the bathtub.” What’s at stake here is not only the family history, but the notion of how we see ourselves, how we define our worlds that always seem “full of voices.” This is a poet fully conscious of “whatever might slip past and pull me under” and so also a poet who makes us aware, in this terrific collection, of what might pull us under. And it’s that awareness that saves us in the end so that we can, with her, “sing and sing."
"First, there is the sheer music of it / snapped empty knuckles tight / and then we realize we are in a forest, the forest of the Brothers Grimm, a forest of wonder and monsters and weird light. Reading Rebecca Cook's The Terrible Baby is grabbing a live electric fence on a dare, taking a stroll through a garden at three in the morning and stumbling over / a woman's head rooted to the ground /. It's daring to look at the face in the Mirror, Mirror on the Wall and deciding to / press her and stack her and iron her and brine her /. At times dark, at times funny, Cook tells the story of a magic girl and never once shows the ace up her sleeve. A brilliant debut, The Terrible Baby insists that / the tongues will stop smarting and slacken and blister / but not too soon, no."
-Rebecca Loudon, author of Tarantella
Rebecca Cook's stunning collection seethes with a raw vitality we have yet to truly see in poetry. One cannot help but consume The Terrible Baby in one reading, devouring delicious word after delicious word. Cook is an open glove, a sleeve unraveling against my wrist. She is made of words and will get you and hold you and keep you and force you to follow. It is impossible to not follow her every step of the way.
-Jenny Sadre-Orafai, author of Weed Over Flower
Inside My Brother’s Hot Blue Tent
When the first people came,
I was under the electric blanket with him,
huddled inside our makeshift tent,
the orange glow of the controls our campfire.
I was there when they came crawling
under the edges.
I watched them bite his skin
through the currents in his ears.
Years later they would tell him
that our mother poisoned his food,
that he must escape her at terrible costs.
But that first time he just screamed all night
while they ate out his dreams and I curled
against him, listening.