Eugène Druet. Photograph of Russian ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky in the Danse Siamoise in Les Orientales posed outside in Paris, 1910. Nijinksy’s ability to perform seemingly gravity-defying leaps was legendary. (Photo courtesy the Roger Pryor Dodge Collection, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts)
I’ve never encountered poetry quite like this. The uniqueness of Lowe’s voice is in full evidence when At the Autopsy of Vaslav Nijinsky is read as a whole. Like poet Caitlin Doyle (another hugely popular Gwarlingo poet), Lowe has the ability to create an alternate reality of sorts through language, whimsy, and pure inventiveness. Her use of personae in these poems, combined with her audaciousness and empathy, is highly original. Reading the poems of both Lowe and Doyle is like watching Cocteau’s black and white classic Beauty and the Beast, or in their darker moments, perhaps a film by the Brothers Quay. The experience is strange, haunting, and not entirely comfortable.
Lowe creates lyrics and elegies from material as disparate as science, history, and pop culture. The poems in At the Autopsy of Vaslav Nijinsky feel simultaneously contemporary and very 19th cen