Self Portrait

Self-Portrait - Elizabeth Horan

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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

 

Reviews for Self-Portrait

The Poetry Question:

‘Elisabeth Horan’s Self-Portrait (Cephalo Press) finds her moving back and forth between her life and that of Frida Kahlo. Between English and Spanish. Between two worlds that hold the same fears, loves, and weaknesses. Moving between languages compels us to dig deeper into the meanings of each word and how it’s used in context. It’s textured and layered. It’s a self-portrait of a woman in distress, but not overwhelmed.’   Read more

Mad Hatter Reviews: 

‘Striving to find, or hold onto, the self amid unforeseeable changes and a long recovery is powerfully penned, poem by poem. Art for Kahlo, and poetry for Horan, appear to be an anchoring force for stability at such a time and is captured perfectly in Horan’s lines, ‘To sustain is to paint / Is to use one’s art like a crutch.’ You cannot help but read Self-Portrait as a labour of love. Sensitive and strong, Horan’s efforts to honour the life and art of Frida Kahlo has surely been a success.’ Read more

Booksaremycwtches:

‘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.’ Read more

Emma Lee:

‘Underneath each poem is the question of how readers understand their own lives, how each of us dig into our own self-portrait, how others might see us or whether we restrict what can be seen to how we wish to be portrayed.’ Read more

 

Read some Italian translations of some of the featured poems at YAWP.

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