Jenny Factor
Reginald Shepherd
Lascivious Thoughts: Valentine's Day 2008
Unraveling at the Name
Essays & Anthologies
Readings & Lectures
Freelance Writing

Singing the Stories History Hides

Jenny Factor's often deceptively casual poems wear their prosodic mastery lightly, combining formal fluency and personal urgency, fulfilling a will to make form out of feeling: "This life I've written out and can control." Unraveling at the Name revolves, unravels even, around a remarkable set of skewed sonnet sequences about love requited and un- (and love's various alibis and substitutes), desire and sex and their often awkward relationship (what Factor calls the "urgency of appetite"), marriage, coming out and learning to come, lesbian motherhood, and loneliness. A canzone about fisting informs us that "Forms/binds. Form combines. Form liberates," and this book demonstrates the ways in which all of these propositions can be true, simultaneously and in turn. "My story's underneath this history./Turn off the radio. I want to sing," Factor writes, and sing she does.