Forum / Cervena Barva Press Announces A New Chapbook, "Barbie at 50" by Jendi Reiter

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    Gloria Mindock
    Oct 19, 02:43pm

    Cervena Barva Press Announces a New Chapbook
    "Barbie at 50" by Jendi Reiter

    Winner of the 2010 Červená Barva Press Poetry Contest: Judged by Afaa Michael Weaver

    Jendi Reiter's first book, A Talent for Sadness, was published in 2003 by Turning Point Books. Her poetry chapbook Swallow won the 2008 Flip Kelly Poetry Prize and was published in 2009 by Amsterdam Press. In 2010 she received a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist's Grant for Poetry. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The New Criterion, Mudfish, American Fiction, The Adirondack Review, The Broome Review, FULCRUM, Juked, The Sow's Ear Poetry Review, Clackamas Literary Review, Alligator Juniper, MARGIE: The American Journal of Poetry, Phoebe, Best American Poetry 1990 and many other publications. She is the editor of Poetry Contest Insider, an online guide to over 750 literary contests, published by
    Visit her blog at

    Jendi Reiter's Barbie at 50 contains an inventive re-imagining of the fairytale woman as well as iconic images of women, including Barbie. The poems are replete with surprise and peppered with humor. In her poem, "The Fallen Angel Writes a Letter Home" she writes, "I never run out of language. I'm easy listening. /Background music for the long drive away /from that sunset field where they fell under / the sweep of a great and lively silence." Her poems resound with lyrical language, and are not bound for silence, but for reading.In "The Happiness Myth" she jests, "Inside me is a thin person,/ two policemen, a rhododendron, and a sheepdog /trying to get out." Inside Barbie at 50 there is much more; a collection of well-crafted and delightful, well-imagined poems.
    —Lori Desrosiers

    Barbie at 50 is a lush collection of poems with lines embroidered with the craft of a studied life. It's Barbie outdoing herself, leaving off the accursed weight of a 1950's perfectionism to discover the truth of genuine joy. These are poems of a life more real than any doll's, as they point up the grace of having confronted the problematic entanglements that attempt to derail a woman making her way through the puzzles of maturing in the last fifty years, a time studded with all ridiculous matter. These poems show us a difficult tenderness harvested from what makes us weep and what makes us shout out in celebration, what makes us laugh.
    —Afaa Michael Weaver, Simmons College

    Barbie at 50

    Her little girls no longer bite their nails,
    the stubby hands that undressed her
    have moved on to trouser buttons.
    Pink polish, bitten to the quick,
    or younger still, drawn on with purple marker —
    now French tips and a diamond or later
    an untanned line where the ring once was.
    Barbie knows the world by hands and feet.
    Her own are forever arched for heels,
    hot pink, one sandal and one pump.
    Barbie's been buried in the sand
    beside mother's toes, splayed in flip-flops,
    chunky piglet barefoot girls
    who dunked her in a bucket,
    drew on her nipples, cut and stroked her hair.
    Head down in seawater,
    she could have told them that midlife nirvana
    doesn't need a plane ticket.
    Barbie's naked as the widows
    floating in the Ganges.
    She wasn't there when Ken died.
    A lady of her age steers clear of most events
    involving small boys and firecrackers.
    Pink is the color of mourning
    for Barbie, who wore it on every occasion
    when there was someone to dress her.
    Plump hands brush pink on lined and powdered cheeks.
    Barbie is carried out in a box.
    Hands turn over tags,
    hunting garage-sale bargains.
    Nude, she lies back on the picnic table,
    points her inked-on breasts to the sky.

    Order online at

    Barbie at 50



    Send check or money order payable to:
    Cervena Barva Press
    P.O. Box 440357,
    W. Somerville, MA 02144-3222

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