Horses, Etc.: The Kinesthetic Nature of Marni Ludwig’s Pinwheel

marni ludwig pinwheel Typically when I read a poetry collection that is more surreal in nature, I eventually reach some level of disappointment, simply for the reason that the collection lacks a form of balance between the concrete and the surreal. In Marni Ludwig’s collection, Pinwheel, however, I never reached this level of disappointment. Though the collection finds its home in the surreal and continues to be severely imagistic, there is a narrative arch woven in throughout that develops over time.

In my mind, while there are a variety of directions the reader may take this narrative arch, I found my personal center in following the trek of a blind girl (or even, the concept of blindness) who reappears in several of the poems throughout. Within this arch, the poems were enticingly involved in the kinesthetic—the movement of horses, the body in dance, the body and mind’s relationship to nature, as well as the potential absence of a bodily sense: in this case, eye sight.

In this way, while the poems continue to be somewhat inaccessible, these moments of doors closing are explained away through this lack of eye sight: surely the imagistic details, or the acts of a moving creature, may be confused or even transformed through being experienced by bodily senses other than that of eyesight. This gives the collection a special authenticity, in the way of exploring this variety of topics without the traditional context of the observer, followed by touch or taste; rather, the collection becomes hinged on these later senses and contains a freshness through that avenue.

Extremely impressive, I really enjoyed Ludwig’s first full-length collection and am looking forward to reading more of her work in the future.


After the girl
with the handful of mice
and a tiny silver guillotine leaves,
we lie down in the dark.

You tell me last night
you dreamed you wore
a beard. The night before
you drowned but did not sleep.

On the screen behind us
citizens of a great island
build the streets
toward a difficult sky.

On the next screen
a blind girl steps
before a shining faucet
and lets her dress fall.


Ludwig, Marni. Pinwheel. Kalamazoo: New Issues Press, 2013. Print.


If you’re interested in purchasing Pinwheel, please visit New Issues Press.


About mckenzielynntozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives and writes in Indiana, where she works as a virtual assistant, editor, and freelance writer via her self-started business, MLT Creative. She received her MFA in Poetry from Western Michigan University, where she worked as the Layout and Design Editor for New Issues Poetry and Prose and as an Assistant Poetry Editor for Third Coast. She previously completed her B.S. in Secondary English Education and B.A. in English, with a Concentration in Writing, at Indiana University South Bend, where she worked as the Managing Editor for 42 Miles Press. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Emerge Literary Journal, Encore Magazine, Thank You for Swallowing, The Spooklet, Sleet Magazine, and Analecta, among others; and her book reviews and essays have appeared on The Rumpus and Motherly. When not writing, she enjoys art and music, and the simple mathematics of being a wife of one, a mama of two, and a cat-mom of three. For more, visit View all posts by mckenzielynntozan

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