A Doll for Throwing
PoemsBook - 2017
The exquisite new collection by the award-winning poet Mary Jo Bang, author of The Last Two Seconds and Elegy
We were ridiculous--me, with my high jinks and hat. Him, with his boredom and drink. I look back now and see buildings so thick that the life I thought I was making then is nothing but interlocking angles and above them, that blot of gray sky I sometimes saw. Underneath is the edge of what wasn't known then. When I would go. When I would come back. What I would be when.
--from "One Glass Negative"
A Doll for Throwing takes its title from the Bauhaus artist Alma Siedhoff-Buscher's Wurfpuppe , a flexible and durable woven doll that, if thrown, would land with grace. A ventriloquist is also said to "throw" her voice into a doll that rests on the knee. Mary Jo Bang's prose poems in this fascinating book create a speaker who had been a part of the Bauhaus school in Germany a century ago and who had also seen the school's collapse when it was shut by the Nazis in 1933. Since this speaker is not a person but only a construct, she is also equally alive in the present and gives voice to the conditions of both time periods: nostalgia, xenophobia, and political extremism. The life of the Bauhaus photographer Lucia Moholy echoes across these poems--the end of her marriage, the loss of her negatives, and her effort to continue to make work and be known for having made it.