"In addition to being dazzling examples of one woman's art the poems in Lip, by moving from mythology to hagiology to evolution (and sometimes back), trace the human mind in its efforts to make sense out of the world and to find a place in it; they bring us up to date, so to speak, and if they have lost the courage to speak. They will not back down, they hold to that essential thing, and the voice within them becomes a beloved instrument of breath among the shrieks." (Mary Ruefle)
"Lip is truly a standout collection of poems. Fagan uses historical figures, quotations, and events as jumping-off points, but these elements also serve to enlarge our awareness of how history stays with us, how public history enters and persists in the private psyche." (Nance Van Winckel)
From the Inside Flap
In this stunning fourth collection, Kathy Fagan expands her ongoing engagement with voice and persona across the borders of both traditional and experimental poetic lines. In Lip, a book of monologues, portraits, and arias, Fagan directs our attention to the sometimes literal ropes and pulleys of the human stage, those operating just out of sight and earshot: the understructure and the undervoice. Her speakershistorical, anonymous, and often subversively femalevariously hold forth, hold back, enfold, and unleash in forms as multiply textured as their experience. Always, hovering at the mouth of the vessel, in the margin of speech, is lip: anatomical and botanical, sexual and slang, servile and insolent.