Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl

Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl

Diane Seuss’s brilliant follow-up to Four-Legged Girl, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

Still life with stack of bills phone cord cig butt and freezer-burned Dreamsicle
Still life with Easter Bunny twenty caged minks and rusty meat grinder
Still life with whiskey wooden leg two potpies and a dead parakeet
Still life with pork rinds pickled peppers and the Book of Revelation
Still life with feeding tube oxygen half-eaten raspberry Zinger
Still life with convenience store pecking order shotgun blast to the face

―from “American Still Lives”

Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl takes its title from Rembrandt’s painting, a dark emblem of femininity, violence, and the viewer’s own troubled gaze. In Diane Seuss’s new collection, the notion of the still life is shattered and Rembrandt’s painting is presented across the book in pieces―details that hide more than they reveal until they’re assembled into a whole. With invention and irreverence, these poems escape gilded frames and overturn traditional representations of gender, class, and luxury. Instead, Seuss invites in the alienated, the washed-up, the ugly, and the freakish―the overlooked many of us who might more often stand in a Walmart parking lot than before the canvases of Pollock, O’Keeffe, and Rothko. Rendered with precision and profound empathy, this extraordinary gallery of lives in shards shows us that “our memories are local, acute, and unrelenting.”

Title:Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl
Edition Language:English
Format Type:

About Diane Seuss

    Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl Reviews

  • Caroline

    Seuss, in STILL LIFE WITH TWO DEAD PEACOCKS AND A GIRL, dares to attempt the reconciliation of the quotidian and the sublime. That endeavor means the collection is inherently courageous; the fact that...

  • Elizabeth Willis

    STILL LIFE WITH TWO DEAD PEACOCKS AND A GIRL is the memento mori of twenty-first century America, “like greeters at Walmart who are there to remind us that we, too, / will be greeters at Walmart.”...

  • Margaryta

    Seuss' poetry is compelling to say the least. "Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl" isn't just about ekphrasis, although there is quite a bit of it in the collection. Seuss certainly takes bi...

  • Jordan

    These poems are dense the way a child's summer's day is dense—bittersweet and infinite, full of discovery and loss. Truly a wonderful collection....