Index of Women (Penguin Poets) (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

A new book from Amy Gerstler is something to celebrate. A poet that can make the strange and beautiful profound in new and unpredictable ways. The personal is political and vice versa. It is truly wonderful for us that Los Angeles has someone as talented as Amy sharing our sun and smog.



From a "maestra of invention" (The New York Times) who is at once supremely witty, ferociously smart, and emotionally raw, a new collection of poems about womanhood

Amy Gerstler has won acclaim for sly, sophisticated, and subversive poems that find meaning in unexpected places. Women's voices, from childhood to old age, dominate this new collection of rants, dramatic monologues, confessions and laments. A young girl muses on virginity. An aging opera singer rages against the fact that she must quit drinking. A woman in a supermarket addresses a head of lettuce. The tooth fairy finally speaks out. Both comic and prayer-like, these poems wrestle with mortality, animality, love, gender, and what it is to be human.

About the Author

Amy Gerstler is a writer of poetry, nonfiction and journalism who lives in Los Angeles. She is the author of ten previous poetry collections, including Bitter Angel, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Crown of Weeds, which won a California Book Award. Her most recent collection, Scattered at Sea (2015), was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, American Poetry Review, and several volumes of Best American Poetry. She teaches in the graduate fine arts department at Art Center, College of Design, in Pasadena, California, and is a member of the core faculty of the Bennington Writing Seminars MFA program at Bennington College in Vermont.

Praise For…

Praise for Index of Women:

“Intimate, funny, poignant, present . . . true to the inner lives of so many women . . . beautifully crafted . . . what’s miraculous […] is that this clamor of voices across continents and centuries somehow amounts to the experience of a single mortal: she contains our multitudes.” Los Angeles Review of Books

“Witty, conversational, ironic, Gerstler’s poetry portrays everyday scenes with psychic depth . . . she mixes offbeat humor and dark observations . . . she uses minimal punctuation, which inserts a swirl of energy into the poems. As her impressions flow together, they add a surreal atmosphere, suggestive of art by Toulouse-Lautrec—as when his dancers, spectators, and settings enhance one another, contributing to a sense of mystery that […] is compelling.” Library Journal

"Gerstler brings her customary wit, playfulness, and emotional range to poems that expose the contradictions in ancient and contemporary concepts of femininity. These poems—some dramatic monologues, others more quiet lyrics—vividly render their chief thematic concern . . . This wonderfully intelligent and imaginative collection upends conventional gender norms in favor of illustrating womanhood in all its idiosyncrasy, complexity, and fullness." —Publishers Weekly
Praise for the poetry of Amy Gerstler:

"[Gerstler's poetry is] extremely rich. But not cluttered and not loud . . . the supernatural, the sexy mundane, the out-of-sight are simply her materials, employed as they might be in a piece of religious art." —Eileen Myles, author of Evolution

"[Gerstler's] poem has me crying in the airport." —Ada Limón, author of Bright Dead Things

"[Gerstler has been] one of my favorite poets since I read her book Bitter Angel. Now I have every book of hers on my shelves." —Maggie Smith, author of Good Bones

"[Gerstler's poems are] charming and smart and emotionally targeted . . . clever [and] emotionally resonant . . . Witty, irreverent, self-deprecating--fundamentally kind." Los Angeles Review of Books

Product Details
ISBN: 9780143136217
ISBN-10: 0143136216
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: April 6th, 2021
Pages: 112
Language: English
Series: Penguin Poets