Poetry Chapbook – The Silhouette Woman by Christine Stoddard
They say she was radiant, a woman who rose with
the mourning doves and shone throughout the day.
Christine Stoddard’s The Silhouette Woman, published by Moonchild Magazine, is one of the most eye-opening and liberating chapbooks I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Through the depiction of a great-grandmother, Lucy, Stoddard’s chapbook addresses issues surrounding ancestry and the desire to uncover the raw identities of our relatives.
We can so often feel alienated from our relatives, with only pictures to give us a glimpse into how their lives might have been before they passed. With only photographs to go by, I’m sure we would all like to know what went on behind the eyes of our own silhouette women.
The silhouettes themselves, printed on each page, allow for a shimmering spectrum of commemoration. Contrasted against the dark page, the welding of beautiful colours, textures and light draw the figure of the silhouette woman out from the shadows and right into the reader’s imagination.
From the outset, Stoddard traces the crucial elements of mystery which entice the reader to discover the woman’s identity: the enigmatic figure of a woman who has so gracefully touched the lives of those whom she has never met. The delicate phrasing on each page gives the chapbook an almost fairy-tale like quality, as if Stoddard were recounting the stories which, I’m sure, were handed down from our own mothers and grandmothers alike.
It is clear that the yearning to relate to the silhouette woman strengthens greatly as the chapbook progresses. What deserves to be noted is the elegant crescendo of desperation, with the narrator’s questions tapping into the more hard-hitting and raw truths of humanity as the pages turn.
I have never seen a photo of her. I build images
of her in my mind, pixel by pixel.
The Silhouette Woman closes with a stunning visual element. Somewhat haunting in its nature, the silhouettes flash ahead of the reader in a zoetrope-like fashion, accompanied by arguably disquieting music and disembodied voices. A charming way to piece together the puzzle of Stoddard’s creation.
Multimedia by Moonchild
You can read Christine Stoddard’s chapbook, The Silhouette Woman, over at Moonchild Magazine for free. You can also print out and keep the chapbook as a PDF here. Finally, if you are able to, you are warmly invited to tip the author Christine Stoddard to offer her a little of the moon and stars.