Reviewed by Lorenia Salgado
“And it’s true
I spent my whole life in fear of sharing my mind
but with a longing for it to be taken.”
In Someone Else’s Wedding Vows, Bianca Stone reflects upon fragmented pieces of perception to prosaically depict her views about family, friendship, love, and the self’s intimate interaction with worldly forms. The collection is organized into three sections comprised of twenty-three poems that come together harmoniously and effortlessly.
Someone Else’s Wedding Vows is intimate and hauntingly inviting. The collection challenges our judgments of monotony to garner new perspectives on what we might consider “dull” or lacking significance. Stone’s poems call for a mental shift, challenging readers to re-conceive and experience reality in a particular way. She detaches from habitual “mental impressions” in order to immerse us to layers of “ irrational” intimacy. In doing so, the collection exposes the mind’s potential for an intimate awareness of itself and its surroundings.
Attuned to the mind’s realm of meaning, Stone’s poems expose life for what it is: fragile and in constant evolution. At the same time, Someone Else’s Wedding Vows gravitates around a persistent longing of the mind’s interconnectedness with its past, present and possible future. In many ways, Stone poses an existential task: She questions our place in the world, and it is not simply how we ought to inhabit it, but rather, how should we cope with it.
In “Elegy With Judy Garland & Refrigerator,” Stone offers a nostalgic kind of hope as the poem delves into the self’s past to uncover its “malleable” nature: “…this human brain that cannot assume the trust position. /[. . .] / And I realize grief is only for the past. / [. . .] / That grief walks barefoot, eternally, / [. . .] / that it knows my teenage ghost / [. . .] /and I realize grief wants me to stay /a child, negotiating a stream of atoms.”
“The Future Is Here” brings to light the process of coming to terms with human limitations and worldly boundedness: “And the whole feels / detrimental and complicated and forever stimulating. / Which is why we live—and why we send out / balloons into the atmosphere / […] / Nothing bad can touch this life / I haven’t already imagined.”
In “Sensitivity to Sound,” Stone depicts a kind of magnified perception in an environment that is not easy to rationalize. Even though she may cognize her surroundings intensely–be it a consuming or liberating experience–Stone still offers hope: “and I heard their terrible / dreams begin. / […] / I could hear her sadness /converting itself to pure energy.”
It is in such poetic light that Stone’s collection allows temporal moments of independence from the outside world to gather new insights: it will get the reader to “practice vigilance” and to experience the meaningfulness of life’s apparent nothingness. Perhaps, we too should, pay attention.
About the author:
Someone Else’s Wedding Vows is Bianca Stone’s full-length debut collection. She is a poet and a visual artist. Stone’s poems have appeared in magazines such as American Poetry Review and Tin House. She is currently an editor of Monk Books, a press that publishes limited edition poetry and art chapbooks. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.