Genre
  • Fiction & Literature

Michelle Bitting

Michelle Bitting grew up near the Pacific Ocean and has work published or forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Narrative, Nimrod, Rattle, River Styx, Silk Road, Crab Orchard Review, Passages North, Linebreak, diode, Anti—, the L.A. Weekly and others. Poems have appeared on Poetry Daily and as the Weekly Featured Poet on Verse Daily. In 2007, Thomas Lux chose her full-length manuscript, Good Friday Kiss, as the winner of the DeNovo First Book Award and C & R Press published it in 2008. Her book Notes to the  ...See more >


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"Bitting proves herself a sister poet to Anne Sexton, Sharon Olds and Sheryl St. Germain."

Kirkus Reviews


AWARDS, PRESS & INTERESTS

Kirkus Star: NOTES TO THE BELOVED

Named to Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2012: NOTES TO THE BELOVED

Beyond Baroque Foundation Poetry Award, 2011: NOTES TO THE BELOVED

Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award, 2011: NOTES TO THE BELOVED

Five Poets to Watch in 2013, 2013

Transatlantic Poetry on Air with Robert Peake and Andrew Philip, 2013

The Sunday Poet-Gwarlingo, 2013

Levure Littéraire , 2013

At the Table With Rainn Wilson and Soul Pancake, 2012


BOOKS REVIEWED BY KIRKUS:

ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Pub Date:
ISBN: 978-0983136231
Page count: 92pp

Bitting (Good Friday Kiss, 2008, etc.) returns with earthy, adventurous and existential free verse.

Bitting is the rare poet who clearly understands that sublimity is never more than one overwrought image away from absurdity. Though clearly capable of the sublime, she is careful to counterbalance the sacred with the profane and the transcendent with the commonplace in crafting what is, on the whole, a forcefully well-proportioned collection. In “Mammary,” for instance, narrator and reader are transported by a chain of associations from the highway sights outside the narrator’s car to visions of her friend’s body as she undergoes a mastectomy. What begins as psychological free association grows increasingly mystical (and worshipful) as the narrator evokes Promethean suffering—"I imagine birds and flight / as the elliptical sweep of sharpness / cuts the pale sky of your chest, / steel beaks of surgical tools / carving out the flesh cream, / making smoke of tumor meat”—before resurrecting her friend’s breasts as “two blond angels, / flying out / beyond the moon’s milky scar” to “spread their innocence." As counterweight to such moments of profound pathos, Bitting demystifies some of life’s most hallowed experiences, such as in “Birth,” a darkly humorous portrayal of childbirth as a telescoping series of indignities in which a Demerol-injected mother on “a Jimi Hendrix acid trip” greets her “baby’s head galumphing / through the ravaged pit” with “a sphincter blast of feces.” Between these extremes, this collection covers a lot of ground—music, death, sex, family, autism, suicide, aging, food—but it always does so from the perspective of a thoroughly embodied narrator. There is a comfortable, even epicurean, egocentrism to Bitting’s narrators that insists on the primacy of the sensual. In this way, and in the way her narrators respond to mortality by burrowing even further into their own skins, Bitting proves herself a sister poet to Anne Sexton, Sharon Olds and Sheryl St. Germain. Yet even with her range, lighter poems like “His Hat,” a comic come-on to Johnny Depp, sometimes feel like filler.

Not a perfect collection—but it comes close.

ADDITIONAL WORKS AVAILABLE:

GOOD FRIDAY KISS
Poetry

Published:
ISBN: ISBN-10098150101001
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ONLINE:

Notes to the Beloved