About the Poems
by Nicole Cartwright Denison
These poems sprang from an assortment of desperation, nostalgia, and obsession during an ITWS Poem-A-Day workshop stint. The clichéd phrase “a woman in love” (lifted from the Barbra Streisand/Barry Gibb song which I still have on 45) began rattling around my head like old songs and jingles do; then I read one of those seemingly weekly articles about women’s brain chemistry— the ones that invariably say women are prone to act kookier under love’s spell due to our hormones (and cultural brainwashing due to these articles). I then began compulsively counting syllables and lines trying to imitate my friend Brenda’s very correct cinquains—my lines are 5 syllables since I can’t follow forms because of deep-seated authority issues. Anne Sexton (another cliché, I’m afraid) then spoke to me in a dream (Barbra & Barry & the GooGoo Dolls were there, too) and said she had also been that kind of merrily cracked up during each phase of love and that I should keep writing these little warped wonders because, while those articles are true, women’re so much more complex than given credit—not everything can be simply decided by university studies, so said Anne. My dear friend John also urged me to write a whole series, some 60 so far, which I hope someday to turn into a chapbook. Maybe I can get Barbra & Barry to give me lyrics permissions or attend the release party. Anne won’t be able to make it, I’m afraid.