Wunderkammer was a finalist for Foreword Reviews’ 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award in Poetry.
Within the world of Wunderkammer, or “cabinet of curiosities,” Cynthia Cruz archives the ruinous, the sparkling, the traumatic, and the decadent. These poems, through sensuous impressions, mimic what it’s like to wake from a dream only to realize you are still inside the dream. We encounter gluttony pinned against starvation—“ceiling high cream cakes, / I ran twelve miles in my ballet leotard” and the glamorous mixed with the grotesque —“I follow a sequin / Thread of dead things.” Through “brutal music,” Wunderkammer grips at the edges of memory and chaos; these poems have “found the kill / And entered it.”
“Self Portrait in Fox Furs, with Magic,” from Wunderkammer:
Where I am the weather is Spectacular damage, and hustle. And inside my tiny Berlin, I am packed, already, in a casket To be returned in a pearl-
Studded palanquin With no music. Beneath the blood And rattle, I saw the moon Float over a field Of white horses, a blind king Whispering in Old German. They'll hook the gloomed world Back into me, its menageries And zoos of wounds, its museums Of memory, and trauma. In the city Of palaces, I lived Inside a doll house Mansion, Chateau Feral, Chateau Bloodhound. Deep inside the primordial forest. I was born On its warm floor Inside the murk of the underworld, And filled, at birth, with a green ocean of terror.