Dark Sparkler

Hollywood starlets have captivated audiences for decades, and so many have passed on before their time. In Dark Sparkler, a sizzling collection of star-studded poems, Amber Tamblyn (Bang Ditto)--an accomplished actress herself--writes hauntingly of Marilyn Monroe, Brittany Murphy, Sharon Tate, Jayne Mansfield and numerous others. She treats both big names and obscure with deserved gravitas, teasing apart authenticity from gossip, critiquing conventions of desire, unraveling presumptions of femininity, demonstrating agency in a subculture that often renders women as objects.

Tamblyn imagines a full life for child star Samantha Smith, killed in a plane crash at age 13. Barbara La Marr, the 1920s actress widely recognized as the most beautiful girl in the world until her death at 29, receives the phone number for the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Dynamic and poignant, Dark Sparkler poses this question from its outset: "When you find a skull in the woods,/ do you leave it alone because it disturbs you/ or do you leave it alone/ because of what's still living/ inside?"

Facing--and sometimes incorporating--provocative lines like, "I'm not interested in going out with a bang./ I'm interested in going out/ with your father," are peculiar and inspired pieces of original artwork by David Lynch, Marilyn Manson and others. Together they fashion a book glittering with jewels fallen from the silver screen. These poems aren't meant to titillate, however. Instead, Tamblyn employs an extended epilogue to grapple with her own role in the Hollywood pantheon, ultimately crafting in Dark Sparkler an empathetic coda for women whose limelight has suddenly and tragically burnt out. --Dave Wheeler, associate editor, Shelf Awareness

Powered by: Xtenit