Books

Self-Portrait by Elisabeth Horan

 POETRY

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This book of poetry explores the life and work of Frida Kahlo, suffusing the intensity of her life into a dual-language collection. In her love of language and Frida, emerging poet Elisabeth Horan offers a beautiful meditation on art and that which inspires it. Her connection to Frida is drawn out through the vivid poems and imagery, embedding the personal into a life-story that has become well-known. Horan’s collection illuminates a new approach to Kahlo’s life in its emphasis on shared experience and poetic tribute.

‘In the wake of damage, it’s often necessary for us to examine every mangled piece of ourselves to find a way to love again, to live. Elisabeth Horan’s Self-Portrait, a collection of poems giving beautiful voice to Frida Kahlo as survivor and conqueror, has the courage to confront any pain and loss it finds. As Horan writes, “There is nothing I won’t touch,” and we are all blessed by this courage line by line in Self-Portrait. These poems lie down in broken glass. They caress the sharp edges of shards left after the breaking. And while these lines carry loss and injury, they also manage to find beauty in every shattered piece, each refraction of light, each laugh and each tear. Horan is a poet so at home in the body, in the blood, in the meat and the knife, it’s astonishingly easy to make the leap from carnage to incarnate in these poems with her, to heal and to praise, to feel Frida Kahlo’s breath on our cheeks as we read these pages.’

—Jack B. Bedell, Poet Laureate, State of Louisiana, 2017-2019, author of No Brother, This Storm