In Ghostly Subjects, Maria Takolander applies her unique and unflinching gaze to the earth, relationships, the body and art, revealing the exquisite strangeness that marks the world as fair game for poetry. Her topics range from the Madrid train bombings to sex dolls, from domestic violence to poetry readings, and from love games to cosmetics. The collection also features two significant sequences: ‘Alien Signals,’ inspired by the films of Stanley Kubrick; and ‘Lessons Learned from Literature,’ inspired by the literature and lives of Mary Shelley, Franz Kafka, Jorge Luis Borges and Sylvia Plath. The poems in Ghostly Subjects can be violently intimate, but they are also often, as these two sequences show, ironically aware of the narcissistic play of representation. Indeed, narcissism is explicitly acknowledged in the title of another sequence reflecting on the hidden history and banal peculiarities of the human form. The world portrayed in this striking collection is intensely uncanny, and it is rendered with a distinctive precision of language and vision. In Ghostly Subjects, its poems so often haunted by mirrors, Maria Takolander has reached through the surface of the glass, clawing up through the dripping silver the otherness of the self, its situations and its illusions.
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