dark country | Kristy Bowen

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dancing girl press & studio, 2021

116 pg.


Set amidst the drift and sway of midwestern girlhood, this collection of prose poems & lyric essay tongues the edges of the rural and suburban gothic, urban legends, sleepover lore, horror movies, and the darker corners of feminine consciousness. 


No one could confirm the bathrooms were haunted, but we tried. The girl in the mirror looks a lot like me.  Like you. Hooks through her ears and a dozen innuendos. She blinks twice and the men in parking lots think it's seduction. But really, all along, we were braiding our hair and stuffing tissues in tiny lace bras. Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. We write in pencil on our notebooks, surrounded in hearts and stars.  Choke down peanut butter sandwiches in the lunch room.  Broken wrist in gym class, where a girl shimmies up the rope then throws herself into the mats. It's a not a pea that breaks her bones, that bruises her hips, but a tiny pill on her tongue. Up the rungs of the ladder to the diving board and into the pool again and again. Shaking the ghosts from the body with a flick of a towel. No one could confirm the monster that lived at the bottom of the deep end, but we tried.  Would throw wreaths and tiaras at it until it quieted.


A writer and book artist working in both text and image,  Kristy Bowen creates a regular series of chapbook, zine, and artist book projects. Since 2005, she has blogged about writing, art, and other creative pursuits at dulcetly: notes on a bookish life. She is the author of several full-length collections of poetry/prose/hybrid work, including the recent SEX & VIOLENCE (Black Lawrence Press, 2020), and FEED (dancing girl press & studio, 2021) .  She lives in Chicago.