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Rebecca Reynolds

Rebecca Reynolds

Rebecca Reynolds was born and grew up in Washington, D.C. She received a B.A. from Vasser College, an M.A. in English from Rutgers University, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan. She has been the recipient of a Hopwood Award, a New Jersey State Council on the Arts grant, and the 1998 Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America for Daughter of the Hangnail (New Issues, 1997). She teaches creative writing at Douglass College, the women’s college of Rutgers University, and is an Assistant Dean for Academic Services.

Also by Rebecca Reynolds





The Bovine Two-Step

The Bovine Two-StepThe Bovine Two-Step

$14.00 paper | 53 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-930974-22-7
Publication Date: October 2002
Buy: Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | ShopWMU | UPNE

A Green Rose Book

An Inland Seas Poetry Book

Rebecca Reynolds’ first book, Daughter of the Hangnail, was selected for the 1998 Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. In her second volume, Reynolds is bent on exploring interior interchanges between sound and sense: the seductions of language, the fund of sensual experience, informal feeling versus the logic of the world, and the desire for the imaginary as opposed to a reliance on public truths, to that which occurs within the “census-drawn depths.” In The Bovine Two-Step, Reynolds tests delineations between the interior and exterior worlds, between self and world. The poems address these distinctions, often wrestling with the blur that results from their mingling. Revelations in these poems are small and quiet and open to questioning—and that is our human business.

“For the variety of its interests and sources, for the musicality of its lines, the clarity and diversity of its diction and for the high value it places on the idea of poetry, I choose Rebecca Reynolds’ Daughter of the Hangnail for this prize.”
         —Ann Lauterbach, in her citation (Norma Farber First Book Award)

“This fun, bracingly smart first collection balances speculative epistimologies against surprising, seen things, panning from incident (‘man discovered with over 7OO birds’) to remote tangent: ‘his poor head, startled, / the way a floorpan is startled with wings.’ Reynolds’ comparisons propose and test definitions of self, pain, meaning; ‘The heart— / a canned tulip— / cannot bear itself. And the mind’s light masonry / houses a crap shoot, waterlit.’ . . . Reynolds stands out for her sharp juxtapositions, for her generous empathies, and for her sometimes-exceptional ear.”
         —Stephen Burt, The Boston Review


The Bovine Two-Step

A woman had trained cows and bulls in a traveling act.
O garland of fury—

I was linked to extravagant organs:
the five dancers, feathered and pearled à la Josephine Baker,

the compliant dogs, who herded us, who were blessed
with these marvelous repositors of dung. “There is no object

so foul that intense light will not make beautiful—”
nature, so clotted with scat, the wild carrot, me in my dancing shoes among

the most sordid and delicate of observations. A strange progress:
the body fixed to the spirit and the spirit following,

like the mammoth, discerning,
describing its own design:

the skin-flank, glimmering heart, liver-scent and hoof.
How I dreamed of it in the blossomy fog,

how I had no possessions but this dream.