From Publishers Weekly
In Queeney's passionate, fast-moving first volume, autobiographical poems, sketches of archetypes and pieces about a persona she calls the Anti-Leading Lady describe a childhood and adolescence dominated by a self-dramatizing, unstable and ultimately threatening mother, and a young adulthood marked by Latin American travel, collegiate ambition and an almost frenzied search for love. Some of her best moments concern failed teen sex. Others render declaratory judgments on her family in the manner of Louise Glück or Sylvia Plath: Because the mother was an error/ and her house had been a waste/ she sought to lay waste. The work of self-definition all young poets—and all young people—move through takes place, here, in poems that sometimes stand on their own, but sometimes sound like exercises: Courtney Queeney is an anatomy of melancholy/ written in egg white and cipher. One of very few first books of poetry Random House has published in recent years, Queeney's debut can sometimes sound more promising than achieved. But, even with its rough patches, there may be a following for this gifted and direct writer whose travails many readers will understand. (June)
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