Enchanting Erasure: Emilie Lindemann’s “Queen of the Milky Way”

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I’ve been meaning to read this ever since I first saw the cover at Dancing Girl Press. I’ve a thing for retro space age stuff, and old-school science fiction, and so forth. Well, last night I finally did read it. I enjoyed it tremendously, so I want to share a little bit about it with you.

This book is an erasure project — the poems were created from a 1982 children’s book version of the E.T. movie. If that alone isn’t already reason enough to read it, there is some lovely artwork — again, altered from the children’s book. And there’s the premise: what if E.T. was a girl?

Queen of the Milky Way is a fun read. For me, it has a feel of childhood, but also intriguing strangeness. Meet the Queen: “Those large webbed feet, / her low-hanging belly and her long hands trailing, / knuckles brushing the leaves. / Enormous bulbous eyes. / She would only be laughed at — / Her nose like bashed-in Brussels sprouts.”

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The “Queen of the Milky Way” in all her extra-terrestial glory, complete with purple plastic tiara and flowing curls.

Erasure, to the uninitiated, may seem like a confining way to write, but Emilie Lindemann does a lovely job of pulling out new, interesting language out of something as simple (and unimaginative) as a movie-tie-in children’s book. The set of poems forms a narrative, and they interlock at last lines and titles, as well as in certain repeated phrases, but many of the poems can stand alone perfectly well.

My favorites in Queen of the Milky Way are “Don’t stab yourself in the heart” (in which artichokes, tomato plants and ivy speak), “Listening with the cosmic ear” (which sports raspberry jam, a turntable, chicken, and robots), and “Pedaling into the misty light” (‘Smell her neck. Smell her bulbous nose and her eggplant face.” — need I say more? Well, there’s also the purple plastic tiara.)

I hope I’ve made you curious about this chapbook, because I think it’s very cool and very readable and, well, as I’ve said, fun to read. You can get your own copy of this lovely chapbook right here: http://dulcetshop.ecrater.com/p/17774644/queen-of-the-milky-way-emilie# (and if you want to help with my “art by booksellers” project, maybe you’ll ask for a doodle on your invoice or envelope…)

(this is not actual art from this book — just me playing around)

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About annette.c.boehm

words escape me.

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