Interior Femme: Poems (Test Site Poetry Series) (Paperback)
Stephanie Berger’s debut poetry collection, Interior Femme, cracks the earth open and exposes the “woman inside.” In a sequence of poems that present variations on the Western feminine archetype and explore the experience of femininity today, Interior Femme visits many unique locales, from cemeteries in Brooklyn to canyons in New Mexico to churches in San Diego, Paris, and Peru. Berger approaches her subjects—mothers, goddesses, whores, daughters, muses, and movie stars—from multiple angles, and through her poems she reveals historical, personal, ontological, social, environmental, literary, and artistic viewpoints. The poems offer layered perspectives fused with multiple versions of female representation, as if to underscore the burden of responsibility, inherited shame, and awesome power that comes with the position women have occupied throughout history.
At the center of the book is Mnemosyne, goddess of memory and mother of the nine muses, who is crumbling under the terrific burden of remembering. In these poems, there is a woman critically wounded—representing the totality of the Western feminine imaginary—who is seeking answers to dire questions. Lyrically complex, sometimes surreal, and often ekphrastic in style and content, Interior Femme simultaneously offers heartbreak, laughter, comfort, and empowerment.
About the Author
Stephanie Berger is a poet, performer, experience designer, community organizer, and entrepreneur. She earned her bachelor’s degree in philosophy at the University of Southern California, received an MFA in poetry from the New School, and taught writing and film in the Department of English at Pace University. Berger is the founder and CEO of The Poetry Society of New York. She is the author of two chapbooks, and her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times and The New Yorker.
“Interior Femme is a tour de force of sorrow and celebration, where readers will find a timely reminder of the terms we find ourselves in, here in our bodies and on this planet, circa 2021. Berger has written an astonishing first book—a must read!”
—Claudia Keelan, professor of English, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, editor of Interim, and author of eight collections of poetry, including We Step into the Sea
“In her stunning debut collection, Stephanie Berger reminds us that because we are human, we are poetry. In all our beautiful bruisings, within the meadow-shacks of our hearts, and with our souls split into seven whores—sacred whores, of course. Diving into this delicious book, “you’ll remember: we/are human,/we rhyme.”
—Sharon Mesmer, professor of creative writing, NYU and the New School, and author of Greetings from My Girlie Leisure Place