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poems by

Kim Bridgford

Poetry book, 48 pages, $12 cover price

ISBN: 1-59948-477-3

Released: May 20, 2014


About The Author

kbridgfordKim Bridgford is the director of the West Chester University Poetry Center and the West Chester University Poetry Conference. As the editor of Mezzo Cammin, she founded The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Project, which was launched at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington in March 2010. Her collaborative work with the visual artist Jo Yarrington has been honored with a Ucross fellowship. Bridgford is the author of seven books of poetry, including Bully Pulpit, a book of poems on bullying, and Epiphanies, a book of religious poems.


If you liked Denise Duhamel’s iconic poetry collection Kinky (1997), you’re primed for Kim Bridgford’s capacious poetic history of favorite dolls—from inflatable to Matryoshka to kewpie to American Girl.  In deft sonnets, villanelles, and other poems that make diligent use of rhyme, Bridgford leads with questions: “Who is Barbie in her menopause?”, “Why not chatty Oliver or Ed?/ Pontificating Bob? Department head?”  The turn to “human dolls” in closing is this book’s culminating brilliance.
–Julie Marie Wade


Wry in its truth-telling, Doll explores the fantasies projected onto women, the acquiescences expected, the blows inflicted. Bridgford’s dolls are toys for children and adults—ragdolls that succumb to bullying bosses; an inflatable doll recognizing herself in Blade Runner’s replicant story; a broken doll head on the highway revealing “all the types of things that we can’t stand.” Thank goodness for Bridgford’s empathetic vision and the witty resistance she finds in life and art’s ‘family tree of sisters.’ “
–Jane Satterfield, author of Her Familiars (Elixir Press, 2013)





No backseat driver, this one’s in the front:
Her upbeat plastic buckled in to go
Wherever you go. This blow-up doll is silent,
Offers her support. I sit; therefore I know.

With her, you have your choice of radio station;
With her, you can drive in the special lane.
She nods when you put both the windows down;
She listens, thoughtful, in each conversation.

She doesn’t eat much: really not at all.
She doesn’t answer e-mail or her iPhone.
Her previous lovers leave the past in Vegas.
Each puff of air produces 3-D’s largesse.
Oh, baby, oh, beauty, oh, ideal held in thrall:
You are the air inside my tires, my Firestone.





One evening, on the couch, she realized this:
She did not know her past, that she framed life
Through moments, one by one. In plastic grief
She knew she was the “pleasure model,” Pris.

How live outside this shape and this intention,
Become one’s own, not someone else’s invention?
Where were her photographs? Her memories? Family tree?
How would she find her genealogy?

She couldn’t ask him, but she trembled now.
She knew how the adopted craved to know
The who-they-were before the who-they-are.
Who made her who she is? Who was her maker?

Now certain words made sense—an order, a factory.
But not enough to quell, be satisfactory.




Even he, who bought her to fulfill a need
Takes Xanax every day. He’s evened out,
He says, which puzzles her: she feels a greed
For human experience. And every night

He takes an Ambien so that he’ll fall asleep.
He starts each morning with a cappuccino.
Her friends are all the same: they blur the landscape.
As long as she is here, she wants to know:

But sometimes in her dreams she’s in the crosshairs,
Punctured, lost, and flattened—usual nightmares—
Arrives at the wrong house, recycled plastic.
She knows without the drugs that she’s susceptive
To all the daily woes that humans try
To lose through pharmaceuticals. And lie.

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