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Sweet Movie Poems

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2023-10-17
  • Publisher: Beacon Press

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Supplemental Materials

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“What gives us the right to listen to someone else’s body?”—Alisha Dietzman, from Sweet Movie

A National Poetry Series winner selected by Victoria Chang, Sweet Movie confronts romantic and religious masochism to interrogate spiritual, sexual, and moral agency

Sweet Movie’s love poems and ekphrasis echo splintered versions of the same question: how do we navigate a world where the expectations of our performance—our presentation, our means of existence—are dictated by the viewers themselves?

Mirroring the uncertain, unstable tenor of Dušan Makavejev’s controversial avant-garde film Sweet Movie (1974), the voices in Sweet Movie are equal parts docile, feverish, and violent. This collection reimagines a feminist approach to religious masochism to explore the ways women are denied agency by both their faith communities and by outsiders.

Dietzman’s poems move through locations across Central Europe and the American South. Each new landscape informs the next: Memphis appears in Berlin in the form of a dead deer, and Southern syntax haunts an elegy for Gustavs Klucis.

The inspired poems from Sweet Movie use film and art to break open seeing. What results are deeply insightful and spacious poems of faith, displacement, and love. Perpetually observant, Sweet Movie guardedly but desperately consumes a world that has become unsettling and uncertain.

Author Biography

Alisha Dietzman is a PhD candidate in Divinity focusing on aesthetics and ethics at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, supported by a grant from the US-UK Fulbright Commission. Her chapbook, Slow Motion Something For No Reason, was the editors’ choice selection for the Tomaž Šalamun Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Ploughshares, Chicago Review, Denver Quarterly, and The Iowa Review. Raised between Columbia, South Carolina, and Prague, Czech Republic, Dietzman now works as a bartender and server in Sacramento, California.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Victoria Chang


Love Poem by the Light of a Documentary About the Polygon Test Site


Nocturne (Slovakia)
Love Poem by the Light of Prague
The Last Judgment—Giotto di Bondone
Healing “Laying On of Hands” Ceremony—Russell Lee
Thou Holdest Mine Eyes Waking
Love Poem by the Light of the Refrigerator
Gosha Rubchinskiy x the Poem
Gosha Rubchinskiy x Timur Novikov
We Did Not Know Much About That City
Dušan Makavejev’s W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism
Love Poem by Train Light


The Margin of a Floating Structure
Love Poem by the Light of Eternity and a Reality TV Show About Love
Stern—Marlene Dumas
Alfa—Marlene Dumas
Lucy—Marlene Dumas


Holy Sonnets
Love Poem by the Light of the Desert
Love Poem by Yellow Light
Two Pale Verses
Dušan Makavejev’s Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator
Big Love Vol. 1
Big Love Vol. 2
Big Love Vol. 3
Love Poem Without Light
Love Poem by the Light of the Documentary Holy Ghost People/Ars Poetica
Love Poem by the Light of Something Obvious
The Last Judgment—Giotto di Bondone


Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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