On this episode of Annotations, Lindsay Bernal discusses her collection What It Doesn’t Have to Do With. Her collection explores—through sculpture, painting, pornography, and performance art—changing views on gender and sexuality. The elegiac meditations throughout this collection link the objectification of women in art and life to personal narratives of heartbreak, urban estrangement, and suicide. Haunted by the notions of femininity and domesticity, the protagonist struggles to define the self in shifting cultural landscapes. In the interview, Bernal and I discuss the autobiographical nature of her poetry, her writing process, the religion that shapes both her life and poems, and much more.
Paul Guest, author of One More Theory about Happiness, wrote that, “The poems in What It Doesn’t Have to Do With feel like right now: this raw moment and this vertiginous landscape and a used-up world. Emojis and a mouse named Heathcliff and Mark Rothko. The aching body and the wounded heart. Reading this book, I smile. I wince. I want to turn off all the lights, everywhere, and let in the light of the sad moon above.”
Those of you in Washington, D.C., can see Bernal in person at Busboys and Poets this Sunday, December 2, at 6:30 p.m. She will be joined by Joshua Mensch, author of BECAUSE: A Lyric Memoir. Check out the UGA Press event page for more information.
To listen to previous episodes of Annotations, click here.