Suze Bienaimee: Pushcart Prize Nominee!
THOUGHTS ON SUZE BIENAIMEE’S POETRY
by Matthew Lippman, author of four poetry collections — American Chew, Salami Jew, Monkey Bars, and The New Year of Yellow.
What has always impressed me about Suze Bienaimee’s poetry is the way it moves between sound and imagery. She is mesmerized by sound and, at its foundation, her poetry is rooted there, in music. I think of the poet Robert Pinsky who has spoken and written extensively on the necessity of poetry being sung.
Suze Bienaimee’s poetry needs to be sung and yet, at the same time, lives very much on the page. It’s an expressive poetry that some comes right out of the heartbeat. What she does with her voice, with that sound, is vary it through repetition and alliteration and broken lines in a way that is singular, unique. I have never encountered a poetry like Bienaimee’s.
If you think about a guitar chord, comprised of three notes, and then think about the number of inversions that the player can make on the fret board to get a sound, all with slight variations, this is the poetry I am talking about.
Ms. Bienaimee lives in New York and much of her poetry is inspired by what happens in the City. The imagery in her work, the sounds in her voice, are all informed by her work. You might call her a regional poet, but that would be doing the poetry a disservice. Even though her verse is rooted and grounded in the sidewalks, in the stop lights, in the cabs and neighbors of her world, there is a universality to the writing which makes it so appealing, so accessible and tremendously sublime. Yes, her work, as I have noted, is sublime. She has worked hard to cultivate a voice and that voice belongs to us as much as it belongs to her because of how open it is.
One thing that I think is essential to poetry, which is successful, is an openness. There needs to be a way to relate to the work. Ms. Bienaimee writes about technology, she writes about loneliness and love. These are big topics and they feel completely authentic in her voice. Yet, at the same time, one will read her work and think, Hey, that pertains to me.
Suze Bienaimee is a fantastic poet. I have had the joy of working with her for many years and I am always surprised and inspired by her work. There is a galvanizing force in the language, in the way she creates a voice that transports the reader in heart and in heartbeat — that tightrope between what is essential to the ear to convey emotion and what is essential to the eye to convey emotion. At the center of her work there is that — a wellspring of feeling that is undeniable. When reading her work I feel, constantly, that I am in the presence of craftsperson — someone who takes great care in the language to create make something beautiful, meaningful, and tight. It’s an organic poetry that has been cultivated with great care.
I love it.
AVAILABLE IN 2018: Artist Book/Chapbook, Poems and Paintings by Suze Bienaimee. Spectrum Contemporary, Publisher. Pushcart Prize Nominee 2017 for Poetry, Barrow Street Journal.
ART BY SUZE BIENAIMEE (pronounced Suzi Be-in-AH-may): is in public and private collections in New York City, across the United States and abroad. Suze Bienaimee is currently the featured artist on ArtNow.org — a website with the purpose of presenting artists’ work free from the chaos and clutter of the internet — fine art for inspiration, questioning, wonder…
TWEETS: Suze Bienaimee @StudioSeeds
Suze Bienaimee is the guest blogger in a tribute poem in honor and in memory of James Lee Byars, Artist