About the Poems
by Elizabeth Erin Smith
The Chainsaw Bears series began on a trip to Bat Cave, NC, where the small tourist town seemed overrun with these ungodly chintzy bear carvings. At that time, I was going through a crisis of relationships – trapped between one man who loved me, but lived across the Atlantic ocean, and another who was utterly emotionally unavailable. I was angry, but felt I had zero agency in the whole she-bang, and I started to think about these bears, these images of threat and violence that are forced to remain stationary and grinning. They can't lash out at the people who mock them or wander by in a disinterested haze. Those beasts reduced to souvenir. I realized there was kindred there. And the more of these poems that I wrote, the more I started to understand how despair is something like a termite, festering beneath that carved in smile, and that there is no Velveteen Rabbit ending for some creatures.