Review: Candy Cigarette

16 is sacrifice. Serpents seek skin. Sequestration a season, and then they begin — reptilian gazes, demon enchantment, sheepskin, diabolists who crave consumption within. You are an entrance. Composition is doors, all orifices, indefensible pores.

– From “An Entrance is Not an Exit”

In her latest full-length collection, Candy Cigarette: Womanchild Noir (Hedgehog Poetry Press, 2019)poet Kristin Garth offers an intimate, raw look into her former life as a stripper in the deep south. Following her recent, heart-wrenching collection, Puritan U (Rhythm & Bones Press, 2019), Candy Cigarette navigates the ups and downs of finding power in life during and after trauma.

Garth doesn’t just play with the Madonna/Whore dynamic, she obliterates it. Her speaker is simultaneously 16 and 25, victim and victor. She harnesses power through the commodification of her body, even as she acknowledges the self-effacement that can happen when one becomes a product for consumption.

Candy Cigarette is exactly like the title suggests: darkly sweet, richly important, and doused in the smell of old bourbon, jolly ranchers, and cigarette smoke.

Candy Cigarette is available for regular pre-order here.

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