Mississippi-based poet and author

Unmentionables

 

Unmentionables

Unmentionables, W. W. Norton, 2008, is Beth Ann’s fourth book. “With elegant wordplay and her usual subversive wit, Beth Ann Fennelly explores the ‘unmentionable’—not only what is considered too bold for mention but also what can’t be said because words are insufficient. Three long poetic sequences and four sections of shorter poems display the range and power of a curious mind at work, and at play.” Poems from this collection won The Black Warrior Review Contest and were reprinted in Best American Poetry 2006 and the textbook Literature.

Insouciant, sexy, funny, and dead-on, Fennelly crafts perfectly metered lines and quick-turn stanzas steeped in the blues and rock and roll in which she riffs on sights, sounds, and moments at once ordinary and suffused with implication . . . .A true pleasure to read, Fennelly is gloriously womanly, dancing-on- the-table daring, and super smart.
— BOOKLIST STARRED REVIEW
Beth Ann Fennelly’s third collection of poems, Unmentionables, is substantial in every way. Fennelly meshes seemingly incompatible motifs with brash wit, lyrical verve, and verbal legerdemain, balancing, with the riskiness of a tightrope walker sans pole, sans net (perhaps sans rope), her multiple personae. . . The ride she offers along the back roads of Lafayette County, Mississippi. . . is unsettling, passionate, and joyful.
— THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL, MEMPHIS TN
You get an entire bookful of images in just a page or two. . .these poems are so full of movement and color because, in many of them, the poet is trying to hammer out a truce between passion and domesticity, between a whirlwind libido and the need to put dinner on the table. . . . The last poem invites the reader not to exit noiselessly but to turn around and walk right back into Fennelly’s feast of light and sound and enjoy it all over again.
— DAVID KIRBY IN PASTE
This is a poet easy in her own skin, delighted by the provocations and exhaustions of sex, but knowing the losses of time. . . . Poems drawn from the poet’s past burn with Byronic bravado, as if there were acres of life yet to be lived. Such poems have a don’t-look- in-the- rearview fearlessness.
— THE NEW CRITERION
Fennelly is officially one of my top ten poets.
— SHERMAN ALEXIE, WWW.FALLSAPART.COM