Dream Horse Press
Juliana Gray's Roleplay
Praise for Roleplay
"Juliana Gray . . . is a beautiful and keen poet. My word, a gifted vision, almost egoless and yet fullhearted."
"Juliana Gray finds abundant inspiration in the sudden turn within the everyday in family, Hitchcock, poetry itself. Pointing into the view, she moves nimbly between voices playful at times and darkly serious; Roleplay is wildly imagined, flawlessly crafteda stunning collection."
"To find such wit and canniness about self and sex in American poetry, we have to look back to Dorothy Parker. Of course, we can look across the Atlantic to Wendy Cope. Juliana Gray has their sense of style but something else, too, which is all her own. She has located the ferocious tension in the undercurrent of society, which comes out as slapstick in comedy and violence in tragedy, but in either case is the same thing: human desire in conflict. Grays inimitable humor is dark, indeed, but brilliant." Mark Jarman
"In her second collection, Roleplay, Juliana Gray continues to dazzle with deft language and dark humor. The agenda of The Devil Plans His Day begins Up at daybreak with the crows. Starbucks. / Tell the anorexic goth barista / how beautiful she looks, and overtip. In Psycho, from a series inspired by Alfred Hitchcock, we remember the three rules of homicide: location location location. An aging Nancy Drew lists herself on Match.com with Turn-ons: lightning, crosswords, antique clocks. Pop culture is just a stepping-stone for the poet, who wears her formal sensibilities lightly; playing wife to Philip Larkin, the safe word is Ted Hughes. Gray has the rare blend of confidence and deprecation needed to navigate themed sections (Casting Call, Method) that question identity, acting, and the inner life. This book is importantwithout seeming self-importantand each page an unexpected delight."
About the Author: Juliana Gray's first book of poetry, The Man Under My Skin, was published by River City Publishing in 2005. Her poems have appeared in The Hopkins Review, New South, 32 Poems, and elsewhere. A native of Alabama, she is an associate professor of English at Alfred University in western New York.
Portrait of My Sister as a Marble Ashtray
Thick and darkly veined as river ice,
and yes, as cold, it rests its heavy base
upon the table edge, serving vice
without reproach, just silent, spartan grace.
In countless films noir and TV shows,
such simple bowls, taken up in passion,
have brained a hundred heiresses and foes.
This kind of death comes in and out of fashion,
but power always lies in its potential:
the sudden turn within the everyday.
It sits, meanwhile, seeming inconsequential,
taken all for granted: the passive ashtray
mutely serving the smokers without acclaim,
both holding and extinguishing the flame.
Copyright © 2012 Juliana Gray