Title: With Apologies to Mick Jagger, Other Gods, and All WomenAuthor: Jane Rosenberg LaForge
Publisher: Aldrich Press (August 27, 2012)
Synopsis: Like, as LaForge writes "the calculated wreckage through mirrors and poetry," there is a beauty and gruesomeness here that speaks boldly to all that listen. These poems are tightly woven, evocative portraits. And you will take notice, because there is a certain religious quality at work. A worship of words and schemas, a concise arc of time and evolution, each poem the body and the blood, a feeling of knowing that LaForge has a plan in mind for you. ~ Lisa Marie Basile
Jane Rosenberg LaForge's poems read like a catalogue of the curious. She creates not one but many worlds with deft language , stark images and a wide, gaping eye. Nothing is off limits as these poems tackle Putin, ankles, youth, teeth, Jagger, old age, sisterhood and other delights and vagaries of the living and the dead. Part mythology and fable, part prayer and dirge , part telescopic and up close and personal, these magnificent poems resonate, throb, and fairly hum with the the fascinating details of the way lives are lived. ~ Michelle Reale, author of four chapbook collections, and two-time Pushcart Prize nominee.
"With Apologies to Mick Jagger, Other Gods, and All Women'' is a
contemplation of hero worship, a phase of life, if not a life-long practice, that everyone experiences. Hero worship can take the form of the unreasonable yet inevitable yearnings of a teenage girl for her untouchable rock 'n' roll deities, or the respect she feels for the more important and
accessible goddesses--her relatives and other acquaintances--as she
matures. That first form of hero worship is "limbic, if not
automatic/the adrenalin of the instant/in front of rapt attention/
in front of girls,in front/of the opportunity to be/remembered
forever, as/if the ancestors have all/been jettisoned and worship/is
all about the present,'' as the opening poem, "Rock Star Watching,''
The other form is learned, if not more thoughtful; it is borne out of
the disappointment that aging and memory propagate: "the sum of the
universes in their/bloating and motion, the friction that
substitutes;/some day even my memory will deteriorate,'' as described
in the poem "To An Accomplished Ceramicist.'' The content of this kind
of hard-won admiration is an "improbable origami of time
and/proportions, where cats and thought/experiments confirm our
basic/ignorance....,'' as the poem, "My Sister's Face,'' states. By
recounting the different men she has longed for, and women she has
known, the poet sorts through the characteristics and qualities that
encompass what we consider godly in a time after myths and legends.
The small and the small writ improbably large are what constitutes
fame today, for such are the contents of "Facebook Status," a poem and
a report about the day's musings. The book concludes with "What
Remains:'' “Where there is not a broken heart / but a muscle rendered
blunt / into a numb instrument / there is a daughter.”
151 West 17th Street #5H
New York, NY 10011
Jane Rosenberg LaForge was born and raised in Los Angeles. She earned her bachelor’s degree at UCLA and worked as a newspaper reporter in California, Maryland, and upstate New York before attending graduate school.
She earned her Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she was a Delaney Fellow. She also worked as a research assistant to writer-in-residence Jay Neugeboren on two of his books on the health care system, Transforming Madness and Open Heart.
In addition to publishing poetry, short stories, and personal essays, she is the author of three critical studies of African American literature: "Colson Whitehead: The Final Frontier,'' which appeared in Paradoxa; “Slavery’s Forgotten Legacy: James Baldwin and the Search for White Identity” on New York University’s Virtual Commons web site; and “The Civil Death of Mrs. Hedges and the Dilemma of Double Consciousness” in The Western Journal of Black Studies.
Her two chapbooks of poetry are After Voices (2009) from Burning River of Cleveland; and Half-Life (2010) from Big Table Publishing Co. of Boston. She has been nominated for a Story South Million Writers Award; and twice for a Pushcart Prize, once for fiction and once for poetry. Her next work will be The Navigation of Loss, one of three winners in Red Ochre Press’ 2012 chapbook competition.
She lives in New York with her husband, Patrick, an editor at The New York Times; their daughter, Eva; and Eva’s cat, Zeka.
Reviews: The review which appeared in Boston Literary Magazine reads as follows:
With Apologies to Mick Jagger, Other Gods and All Women
by Jane Rosenberg LaForge
We remember not with our anatomy,
but with our impulses; A precious
curtsy, the last cigarette, the grind
of ashes into wine and sand.
With a title like that, you expect sexy, steamy sass. At least I
did—I’ve been a fan of Jane Rosenberg LaForge for a few years, and
know her to be a mistress of imagery, insight and beautiful
mindfulness. But I wasn’t prepared for this melancholy LaForge, this
voice of sorrow, of bittersweet looking back. From poignant memories
of her parents, to watching her sister die, LaForge paints a
breathtaking picture of life’s Entirety with scenes that swing from a
hygiene-challenged lover to a slumber party to her own profile on
Facebook. Uh huh, it’s all here, and no, it’s not all pretty. But for
me, the final powerful line says it all: “Where there is not a broken
heart / but a muscle rendered blunt / into a numb instrument / there
is a daughter.” With Apologies is an explosion of emotions, both
grisly and exquisite.
The review which appeared in philart.net, known for its unusual
reviews, reads as follows:
With Apologies to Mick Jagger, Other Gods, and All Women
Jane Rosenberg LaForge
I cannot lock my front door in the morning without testing it at least
three times, because of my OCD, each time with a different hand
position, incantation or dance. Otherwise, because of my senility, all
the mornings of the last twenty plus years I have lived in this house
merge together, and after walking a block and a half, arguing with
myself, over whether I remember, I lose, and walk back to try again.
Nor can I leave without a 226 Press or Philadelphia Union cap, because
of my light sensitivity. And even with the hat, after all the handle
rattlings, mumbled obscenities and shuffling jigs, I have to wait on
the sidewalk, visually parsing the street because of my schizophrenia,
until all the colored lines and polygons assert themselves as
rowhouses, stores, trees, badly parked cars, and commuters waiting for
the buses in various stages of age and distress. Reading this
excellent book of poems constructed from grammatical sentences was
like walking straight out of the house to the corner, my head bare,
the front door probably open behind me. The structure is English, the
route across and down the page simple and expected, but the words, the
nouns especially, are twice removed from normal, the people are
intemporal, I am uneasily convinced there is something between the
words I have forgotten that needs checking, and I am squinting as I
read. "It is youth that keeps you pale and concerned about the smaller
buzzing parts, the soil and the pinecones there, and the grace between
fists and teacups."