From the opening lines, it’s clear The Girl at the center of these poems is damaged—which is another way to say she’s a survivor. If the Girl Never Learns moves from the personal to the mythic to the apocalyptic, because The Girl would do anything, even go to hell, to save her soul. So, she resists, takes action to overturn society’s suffocating ideal of Good Girldom. The poems’ sense of breathlessness reflects The Girl’s absolute need to control her own destiny, to outrun her past, while at the same time chasing a future she alone has envisioned and embodied. Because The Girl is, above all else, a badass.
Advance Praise for If the Girl Never Learns
“If the Girl Never Learns, she is never going to learn the hard way! She goes down swinging. And singing. Silverman has given us poems of both heart-stopping descent and dissent. Like some granddaughter of ‘Lady Lazarus,’ this ruthlessly crafted collection—as sharp and shiny in its sounds, propulsive rhythms, and wordplay as a blade—knows how to perform. It holds its dazzled reader spellbound.”
—Kathleen Graber, author of The Eternal City, National Book Award Finalist
“Pocked with rage and trembling, the landscape here is nightmared with the distorted mirrors of carousel rides and sedatives, Bosch paintings and seedy motels. In these terse, jagged lines is a girl who chooses her own adventure from a rigged and broken game. Reader, this is the place to go in search of the kind of understanding that can only come with the raw truth.”
—Nickole Brown, author of Sister and Fanny Says
“With every iteration of ‘if the girl,’ we are taken deeper and deeper into one girl’s life—every woman’s life. Silverman asks, ‘How does she go on?’—and it’s the power of her art that each poem propels us ever forward into those nether regions of loss, of near connections and near misses, while somehow miraculously holding her readers in the most graceful and tenuous net above the dark abyss. These poems arrive with the force of revelation in the eternal ache of searching for love.”
—Robert Vivian, author of Immortal Soft-Spoken
About the Author
Sue William Silverman’s first poetry collection is Hieroglyphics in Neon. She is also the author of four books of creative nonfiction. Her most recent book, The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew, was a finalist in Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award. Her memoir, Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You, won the AWP Award, and Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey through Sexual Addiction is also a Lifetime TV original movie. Her craft book is Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir, and she teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.