Romance or The End takes up the tools of romantic narrative in order to perform the rupture between self and story that occurs at the onset of trauma. Using known and pathologized literary arcs, Elaine Kahn unspools the fundamental instability of truth, love, and language to create an experiential portrait of narrative’s power to both disfigure and restore.
ROMANCE or THE END
This is a book about love.
And it is a book about lies.
Love can be a lie, but it is also always true.
This is a book about truth.
This is a book about story.
There is no such thing as a true story, and so there are no stories in this book.
Without a story, there is separation.
This is a book about separation.
Everything is a story. Even the truth.
There is nothing truer in this world than the lie of love.
Elaine Kahn’s poems touch me somewhere deep. I don’t know how or why, but I’m willing to go wherever she wants to take me.
Elaine Kahn shoots from the groin, championing a ferociousness that rages against asperity while playfully seducing the reader to misbehave. Hers is a realm where oceans beat against genitals, and Hannah Wilke warms the earth.
Kahn’s poems are strategic attacks against mythic fictions like selfhood, gender, even the universal acceptance of scientific knowledge. But to characterize Kahn’s poetics as invested in ‘truth’ would fail to highlight its multivalent relation to language as something that both delimits perception and serves as a vehicle of power.