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Jessica L. Wilkinson, marionette

The poems within marionette: notes toward the life of miss marion davies are drawn from my longer poetic biography of the early cinema actress, who was the long-time lover of millionaire media tycoon William Randolph Hearst. Marion's silencing by the early cinema screen provides a powerful metaphor for her subsequent ‘silencing’ by Hearst, who largely controlled her career and—as much as he could—her actions in public. Marion’s story is marked by whispers, gossip, rumors, lies, and plot holes. marionette is an attempt to enact and recover Marion’s playful voice and spirit.

"In this virtuoso production, Jessica L Wilkinson entrancingly induces one of Hollywood’s forgotten figures, actress Marion Davies, to “step onto the page/and off again”. With precursors in Muriel Rukeyser and Susan Howe, Wilkinson’s work is at the forefront of feminist documentary poetics. Her words soar and hum across the blank space, creatively transforming traces of and desire for Davies’ person through a screen of persuasion, tenderness, and intensity. Wilkinson’s poetry teases and provokes the reader to join her in a deeply rich affective and critical adventure into the 'Impossible'. marionette will resonate for many years to come and heralds one of the most exciting new voices to poetry’s global stage." Ann Vickery

Jessica L. Wilkinson's poetry and poetic criticism have appeared (or are forthcoming) in books, newspapers, zines and journals including HOW2, Ekleksographia, Southerly, Overland, Criticism and Cultural Studies Review. She is founding editor of RABBIT: a journal for poetry. She has also co-edited a book of essays and poems entitled Refashioning Myth: Poetic Transformations and Metamorphoses (2011).

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