Foreword Reviews

The Afflicted Girls

Like some white-coated poet-anthropologist, Cathleen Calbert’s ginned-up history of notable off-center women takes dead aim at what you thought you knew. A Pushcart Prize and The Nation Discovery award winner*, The Afflicted Girls* is her fourth collection.


Shrinks said, Inferiority complex. Yes,
dilettantes can be a pain in the ass.

Still, Zelda, Scott’s cyclone, his only god,
there’s something to be said for being

a personality, your greatest creation the girl
who didn’t give a fig for respectability

and caused scenes, stewed at parties,
before you got off the sauce for good,

nothing but whole milk and sanitariums
after you cracked up too badly to mend,

then turned into the cuckoo, the mad widow,
in the end identified by a charred slipper.

Listen, ripping that much life out of youth
is quite an accomplishment too.

Reviewed by Matt Sutherland

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the publisher for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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