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 South Bend, Indiana, where she works as the Departmental Secretary of English and World Language Studies at Indiana University South Bend, and remains closely affiliated with 42 Miles Press, New Issues Poetry and Prose, and Wolfson Press. She previously 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 Editor of Poetry for Third Coast. Her poems have appeared in Encore Magazine, Sleet Magazine, Rogue Agent, Thank You for Swallowing, Whale Road Review, The James Franco Review, The Birds We Piled Loosely, and Analecta; and her book reviews have appeared on her website and on The Rumpus. She lives with her husband, their daughter, and three cats. For more, visit View all posts by mckenzielynntozan

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