Ghost Tongue // Nicole Rollender

Ghost Tongue

by Nicole Rollender

Porkbelly Press, 2016

6 ¼ x 5 ¼

26 pages




review by Caseyrenée Lopez


Nicole Rollender’s Ghost Tongue, from Porkbelly Press’s 2016 micro-chapbook series, is nothing short of beautiful. The 10 poems that complete Ghost Tongue work together, rendering a haunting portrait of womanhood and the sorrow that often accompanies it. Ghost Tongue sticks with you in a way that forces you to reevaluate your own existence and understand the fragility of the present. The imagery in each poem is brimming with life, death, hope, loss, depression, and experience. Each line is its self a poem, bearing the weight of vulnerability by noting the consistent theme “I stay awake so you’ll stay dead”–you can truly feel the haunted nights and relived memories. Ghost Tongue captures even the most commonplace occurrences, a childhood fall, kneeling to pray, the contemplation of produce, and works to expose the beauty of the mundane. Rollender’s collection, although short, is tightly packed with emotion, with each word carrying its weight and every image opening new doors of possibility. Ghost Tongue offers a solid history of the body, the self, and familial bonds, reminding us even from the first page that “[we] still belong to [ourselves].” The only problem with this collection is that it isn’t longer.

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