“Prison Break” by Jennifer Sperry Steinorth

This work is excerpted from the forthcoming book, Her Read, a graphic poem (Texas Review Press, 2021).  I began this make-over in the summer of 2016, in that pre-election heat. Finding myself otherwise unable to write, I set to work remodeling a seminal text, The Meaning of Art by Herbert Read.  Though the maternal body appears with frequency in Read’s illustrated text which spans from prehistory to the modern age, he includes zero female artists.  So, from the voice of the male critic surveying male bodies of work, I excise a first-person female lyric.   Her Read, a graphic poem is an excavation of buried voices, a reclamation of bodies framed in gilt and an homage to those whose arts remain unsung.

Jennifer Sperry Steinorth is a poet, educator, interdisciplinary artist, and licensed builder. The author of Her Read A Graphic Poem (2021) and A Wake with Nine Shades (2019), finalist for Foreword Reviews Best of the Indie Press Award, she has received grants from Vermont Studio Center, the Sewanee Writers Conference, Community of Writers, and the MFA for Writers at Warren Wilson College.  Her poems appear in Beloit Poetry Journal, Black Warrior, The Cincinnati Review, Michigan Quarterly, Missouri Review, New Ohio Review, Pleiades, Plume, Rhino, TriQuarterly and elsewhere.