Silk fabric rising above naked knees,
décolletage dipping. Little else to suggest immodesty.
If you were Colette or Anaïs Nin
you’d have worn less. Marilyn—nothing but her Channel No. 5.
Excerpt Reclining Woman in Polka Dot Dress, Anatomy of an Injury
Bringing together the themes of death, of gender and sexuality, the poet creates a speaker whose language and experience, linked from poem to poem, reflects the true complexity of a woman’s perspective. Death is a prevalent theme; anxiety, fear and paranoia simmer throughout the poems. Regret, too, is a recurrent theme, as previous experience defines us even by its absence. The societal construct of womanhood, questions of aging, and female stereotypes are opportunities for an analysis of women’s roles and the speaker’s need to subvert modern ideals of femininity and sexuality. The poems often employ satire or self-parody and wry humour to suggest that a woman’s understanding of her options in the twenty-first century, in light of the many waves of feminism, is always in flux and always challenging. [Buy the book]
Today’s book of poetry isn’t exactly sure what a chanteuse is but we know we want to call Anatomy of an Injury a Holly Golightly dirge and the voice of Myna Wallin something both sexy and dangerous. Wallin is lamenting and celebrating some of the same things at the same time and in context it makes perfect sense. Or: romantic life expectations rarely meet up with our real life propositions and the love life of our imagination is endlessly superior to our own life between the sheets.
With her brilliantly chosen title, Anatomy of an Injury, Myna Wallin proceeds to examine a series of agonizing loves: Love for a mother lost at a young age to cancer, then, love for a lifetime of amours “because love and longing for it, is the only thing/I’m really good at.” In her disarming candor, she is a Canadian Anne Sexton, forthright, glamourous, savvy—and innocent. A feminist in a “sparkly dress,” Wallin understands that vanity, too, has its desperate, daily discipline, even when “I’ve Reached the Age of I Don’t Care.” But very happily someone the poet would “do anything to keep around” arrives by the end of this winsome book.
Myna Wallin investigates, without fear, “this duplicity of meaning, of motive, of self” in poems that dive into the painful or awkward past and a youthful, continuous lust for men and clothes and life. Along the way, she bears in mind the kitsch of the high backed bondage chair or foot-damaging pair of Louboutins, while defiantly declaring she will curl up and sleep amongst the beige and brown spotted bodies of her domesticated family of bobcats. Wallin’s arch style somehow convinces us we’ll always yearn for love and heartbreak.
Effervescently centering each poem’s surface is the universal solvent, love, in all its grand, minute, nebulous, recollected and misunderstood permutations. These deeply poignant, reflective, life-affirming and humorous poems dance “with such bravado, bold, ornate,/ luxurious to the touch/ their feet in the shade, their faces in the sun.”