Book Review: The City She Was (Somatic)

Carmen Giménez Smith


Publisher: Center of Literary Publishing at Colorado State University

ISBN: 978-1-886535-19-8

ISBN: 978-1-885635-23-5

Somatic Review of Carmen Giménez Smith’s The City She Was

Carmen Giménez Smith’s The City She Was (Center for Literary Publishing)

Around eleven o’clock in the evening, take only your house keys and walk through the city. Smell the air, feel its breath on your skin. Watch strangers, identify a beggar. Imagine you are the beggar. Watch the buildings watching you. Wonder what they have seen, what they know. Allow a mild paranoia to build. Take the long way home. Walk under unkempt trees. Once home, turn on only a strand of red mini lights, find ambient music. Take a moment to FEEL. FEEL the city moving around you. FEEL how empty and alone you are. Pick up the book, begin to read. As you read recall the WHISPERS from the buildings and how the trees watched you. This book needs a background, you are that background. Be subsumed into the poems. Remember, you ARE the city, “…You’ll smell it in my black fur./ I’ll be the apartment ghost: pass through walls, /through realism, but smaller, quieter,/ the tumor in the center of your heart charka.” Pause. Take a moment to soak in the ambient music. Let yourself become UNCOMFOTABLE. Resume reading allowing the book to lull you into its complexity, its compassion. This book FEELS for you, “Even for a bad zoning decision, I’ll bleed so much you’ll be bleeding,/ all of us bleeding in and out like it’s breathing,/ or kissing and because it is righteous and terrible and red.”

Reviewer: Aurora Smith is a first MFA in Writing and Poetics at Naropa University

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