Olivia Cronk's Skin Horse (excerpts)

by on Feb.12, 2012

Kate Durbin, Montevidayo’s friend and sometime resident, asked me where she could read some of Olivia Cronk’s poems online, so I’m posting some here.

from Skin Horse:

I did not think you would find
this forest.
How much have you seen?
My crisp muslin skirt
nursed to chair
at dinner?
The display of burning orange white
when he and I
and the window
your old friends
the naked squids
hung from a tree branch


We saw that the Polish girls saw us
and that they sat on boxes.

What lipstick lights.
Through a branch, one creeped to scream.
The pond was a bad window. A turkey frighted.
The ring pulsed maria
all over
a crystal ball flyer in my bag.
I thought I could find
some Boschists out back.

Olivia’s book Skin Horse has just been published by Action Books and can be bought on the Action web site or at SPD.

Here’s the catalog copy:

Poetry. Like a secret date with Lizzie Borden, these moody lyrics thrill as they incriminate. SKIN HORSE shows that history is a crime scene, and that crime is theatrical, rife with costumes, masks, hats, props, weapons, scripts, dialogue, wooden scenery and dreamlike reenactments. These poems are anachronistic yet uncannily alive, furtive yet frank like an incriminating note forgotten in an apron pocket. Cronk locks words together like a lace collar which flutters attractively even as it tightens at the reader’s throat. She writes, “with velvet trim / in the whistle of seeing.” She writes, “Is it too untoward to say Please Go Back to Normal Life?” She writes, “Gotta nest of woe a nest of wail / and pardon my tied-on prom.”

Praise for Skin Horse:

“If the wind cries Mary sounds to you more like The ring pulsed maria then you have your ears tuned to Cronk’s indiosyncratic sonics. You can’t be overtly prepared for Cronk’s directions, all you can do is gladly, if a little hesitantly, follow the paths her word combinations offer: Back to the city in chains…………trees typewritering………..I am indeed a nurse. SKIN HORSE will stimulate some neurons to try some new actions, to scare up some gathering, to be thrilled to be amongst her magnifications.”

-Dara Wier

3 comments for this entry:
  1. gina

    this book looks excellent, can’t wait to read it!

  2. Lara Glenum

    O I’m thick in the middle of it & it’s really so scrumptious & mezmeric!

  3. April may be the cruelest month but February is fabulous for Olivia Cronk fans! « Oregon College of Art and Craft Library

    […] Skin Horse, a collection of poems by Olivia Cronk, was just released by Action Books this week. For anyone interested in cutting-edge contemporary poetry, this book is a must read! Olivia Cronk lives and writes in Chicago, Illinois. She earned her MFA from School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has appeared in can we have our ball back?, Denver Quarterly, and Shampoo. She also writes reviews for bookslut.com. Excerpts from the book can be found here. […]