Annelyse Gelman
2023 |

"Viewed from a distance, interdisciplinary artist and poet Annelyse Gelman's Vexations could be described as a long poem-a book-length narrative work in the tradition of epic or romance. Vexations is fragmentary and dreamlike, however, chipping away over time at the very foundation on which such a narrative tradition typically rests. The central drama of Vexations is centered around the journey of a mother and her daughter through a speculative world that seems utterly contemporary and, at the same time, indexical of alternative unsettling futures. Threats and anxieties are inextricable here: environmental disaster, medical treatments, medication, motherhood, grasshoppers, horses, shopping malls, evolution, inheritance, advertising. "There was no other world to bring a child into," Gelman writes. Endlessly, intoxicatingly inventive, nearly every line of Vexations is worthy of independent attention, even as the work as a whole advances its tragic narrative on multiple fronts. As the work traverses scales from the dramatic scope of its quest narrative, on one hand, to the miniaturist phenomenological precision of its lyric progression on the other, Vexations balances affective intimacies with dystopian political vision, and the result is a singular, genre-warping work of contemporary poetry"--

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