Selected for the National Poetry Series by Alex Lemon, Double Jinx follows the multiple transformations—both figurative and literal—that accompany adolescence and adulthood, particularly for young women. Drawing inspiration from sources as varied as Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the fairy tales in Anne Sexton’s Transformations, and the shifting dreamscapes of Brigit Pegeen Kelly’s work, these poems track speakers as they make and remake themselves.
A series of poems depict the character of Nancy Drew as she delves into an obsession with a doppelgänger. Cinderella wakes up to a pumpkin and a tattered dress after her prince grows tired of her. A young girl obsessed with fairy tales becomes fascinated with a copy of Gray’s Anatomy in which she finds a “pink girl pinned to the page as if in vivisection. Could she / be pink inside like that? No decent girl / would go around the world like that, uncooked.”
The collection produces an understanding of the ways we construct ourselves, whether by way of imitation, performance, or transformation. And it looks forward as well, for in coming to understand our identities as essentially malleable, we are liberated. Or, as the author writes, “we’ll be our own gods now.”