- Skulls and crossbones: poetic piracy. Burning barns, drunken Christmases, scars, hospitals, serial killers, and, eventually, the possibilities of self-preservation and hope. The Dagger Between Her Teeth is Jennifer LoveGrove’s bloodthirsty debut. Powerfully topical, it's a rare collection of poetry — one that confronts notions of violence, both physical and emotional, by focusing on a woman’s strength of will and capacity for ferocity. In The Dagger Between Her Teeth, LoveGrove resurrects and reinvents the dramatic young lives of two eighteenth-century corsairs, Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Alive with the golden age of piracy but infused with the pulse of now, these poems shed more blood than a Tarantino flick. LoveGrove’s work provokes with theatrical plundering, creative cross-dressing, and vicious vengeance: “Disdain reddens my blood — I / know well I killed / my own husband and took / his clothes to be out here.” Still other poems examine the conflicting mythologies of Lilith, Adam's first wife, who was evicted from Eden for her sexual aggression. Disputed and co-opted, Lilith has been blamed for a vast array of “deviance,” as well as for miscarriages, wet dreams, nightmares in children, and lustful women — these poems explore the more ominous elements of her mythology. But there is also a part of The Dagger Between Her Teeth that is informed by more personal experience, from disrupted family dynamics to the failure of romance: “You’re not as fragile as you think you are; / I know you didn’t snap / any of those feathered necks / yourself. It’s all just tapeloops / and backward masking, take-out / wings and old Talking Heads albums.“
Jennifer LoveGrove was born in Dunnville, Ontario, and has a B.A. in Creative Writing from York University. She has published work in various literary periodicals and anthologies including ink, Queen Street Quarterly, sub-TERRAIN, The Fiddlehead, and The I.V. Lounge Reader, and her poetry has been nominated for a National Magazine Award. She is the editor and publisher of the literary zine dig, and of wayward armadillo press. For Toronto's WORD, she wrote the monthly zine review column Serial Escapades. She currently lives in Toronto.
Published: April 2002
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.