Chapbook review: Glimmerglass Girl by Holly Lyn Walrath

Glimmerglass Girl review

Cupping hot cups

of blueberry coffee

we watched yellow oak

and brown pine

and red maple

leaves falling.

They never seemed

to reach the ground,

drifting out over the lake

whose surface was pinched

as if by some invisible touch.

(‘Two Young Wives’, Holly Lyn Walrath)

Holly Lyn Walrath’s poetry collection, Glimmerglass Girl (Finishing Line Press), celebrates everything that womanhood encompasses. Drawing from Walrath’s own experiences, her speculative poetry unearths truths about femininity which beg to be explored.

glimmerglass girl holly lyn walrath

What I found particularly enlightening about Walrath’s work was her evaluation of married life. Walrath’s poem ‘Housewife’ offers a darker perspective on everyday life. The poet expertly uses food, such as ‘onions’ and ‘cucumbers’, in order to shed light on households where women are subjected to a poisonous domesticity. Walrath writes not only of a house which is ‘concealed behind draperies’, but of women who are equally held hostage by their ‘housewife’ image.  This poem certainly left an imprint on me, with Walrath’s piece crucially reassessing our perceptions of the ‘housewife’ role, highlighting that women are infinitely more than the labels they have been given.

Through ‘hot cups / of blueberry coffee’ and ‘red maple / leaves falling’, Walrath paints a deceivingly picturesque image of married life in her poem ‘Two Young Wives’. The poet presents us with young women who deserve to have a prosperous and long-lasting future: nonetheless, their futures are quickly coming to a close, with their lives and autonomy arguably signed off to their husbands. Walrath contests the idea that an ageing woman is one without prospects or potential, inspiring a rejuvenation of self-empowerment and liberation, regardless of marital status.

‘Seeing my stomach at once pregnant with its round shape, I knew I doomed the world, tideless, with my appetite.’

(‘I Swallowed the Moon’, @HollyLynWalrath)

The moon and femininity often work in tandem with each other. In ‘I Swallowed the Moon’, Walrath takes all that this pairing holds at its core in a celebration of what it means to be a woman.

Holly Lyn Walrath’s Glimmerglass Girl is a delicate yet prevailing portrayal of womanhood in the twenty-first century. With a voracious appetite for the world, Walrath invites the reader to explore and honour femininity in all its glory.

Glimmerglass Girl cover

GLIMMERGLASS GIRL is available from Finishing Line Press

Artwork: Geoff Galice