Tuesday, May 07, 2024

Concetta Principe, DISORDER


Like Emily who bound
her disorder to her last

reclusive poet years, wearing
walls of her room as a plaster

hijab, anachronistically applied

she veils herself with brick
and mortar

on foundations
that weep (“SAD THIGHS”)

The latest from Peterborough-based “award-winning poet, and writer of creative-non fiction, short fiction, as well as scholarship that focuses on trauma literature” Concetta Principe is the poetry collection, DISORDER (Guelph ON: Gordon Hill Press, 2024), following her collections Interference (Toronto ON: Guernica Editions, 1999) and This Real (St Johns NL: Pedlar Press, 2017). DISORDER is composed with a focus on neurodiversity, the focus of which is quite unique, and an important one; working meditative stretches while attending an open conversation aimed toward dismantling stigma. Composing her DISORDER, Principe offers poems not as the opposite of “order,” but through a structure requiring its own attention, composing crafted lyrics on what isn’t a problem to be solved but a difference of perspective. “Just so you know knots / are the pyrotechnics of appetite // repressant;,” she writes, to open the poem “ICING ON THE CAKE,” “a kink in the intestine / of this birthday cake // wrapped in frosted lake; [.]” Principe utilizes the lyric as a sequence of narrative threads that work to examine, unpack and document the way she thinks and moves through the world, and there are echoes in her meditations that remind of works by Pearl Pirie, or Phil Hall, attempting to discern how the world works (or doesn’t work) through language (including a stellar cluster of prose poems). As she writes as part of her “Notes and Acknowledgements” that closes the collection:

This project came together retroactively. I had been writing these pieces to document experience, frustration, rawness, daily trouble and their scabs. The diagnosis changed my perspective on what I’d been doing and highlighted for me what I’m calling the product of a high functioning BPD: some pieces pretend to be ‘normal’ and other pieces struggle with ‘normal,’ and underlying this is the child playing against the brick wall of ‘normal.’ It is thanks to Shane Neilson, who has been supporting my work for several years now, that this project of an atypical ‘a-normal’ life has an audience. I am so very grateful and indebted to Shane for creating this forum for disabilities discussion in which I, among others, may have a published voice.

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