Ten Opening Paragraphs for a Review of Mira Gonzalez’s “I Will Never Be Beautiful Enough to Make Us Beautiful Together”

Mira Gonzalez

“In the Victorian Era, sex was not thought to be enjoyable for women, who were famously advised to ‘lie back and think of the empire’ while their husbands plowed away. For women in the ‘alt lit’ community writing about sex today, the equivalent maxim seems to be ‘lie back and think of the Internet.'”

“Mira Gonzalez writes poetry that seems very true. I mean that both in the sense of emotional honesty and in the sense that she’s right, it does feel insane that you need money to develop a drug addiction.”

“Though it does contain the lines ‘I will touch your face using my entire body/ and we will recall a specific warm morning/ when we felt numbness in the space between atoms/ and our mouths tasted like the unattainable closeness of years prior,’ on every other page of I Will Never Be Beautiful Enough For Us to Be Beautiful Together, Mira Gonzalez is not the kind of poet who writes poetry like that.”

“The poetry of Mira Gonzalez might be described as ‘erotic existentialism,’ except that it’s not particularly erotic. In her poems sex often happens, but the act is described flatly and without detail, by way of explaining what her body is doing while her mind is contemplating the spaces between molecules.”

“Mira Gonzalez’s poetry collection I Will Never Be Beautiful Enough For Us to Be Beautiful Together arrives hot on the heels of the writer being singled out by Vice UK as an example of everything that’s wrong with the alt lit movement. That might be the best publicity she could have hoped for.”

I Will Never Be Beautiful Enough For Us to Be Beautiful Together, a poetry collection by Mira Gonzalez, is being published in the same season as the first book by Marie Calloway, another confessional young female writer whose writing is native to the Internet. Sex is a frequent occurrence in both books, but whereas for Calloway sex is an extremely serious matter that occasions frantically intense introspection, for Gonzalez—like Megan Boyle—the act has a poignant absurdity. ‘He said “I’m gonna come on your stomach” 15 to 20 times while breathing heavily and putting his penis on different parts of my stomach/ every time I attempted to touch his penis he moved my hand away/ eventually I gave up on trying to interact with his penis.'”

“‘I feel like 400 dead jellyfish in the middle of a freeway.’ If Mira Gonzalez didn’t exist, Diablo Cody would have to invent her.”

“One day when I was an RA in grad school, I was eating lunch with an undergrad who I barely knew; unexpectedly, she broke down in tears and told me that a longtime friend of hers had started dating someone else, and that she barely saw him any more. ‘I just wish,’ she told me, ‘that wherever he’s going, he could just put me in his pocket and take me with him.’ I was reminded of that woman when I read the title poem of Mira Gonzalez’s new collection I Will Never Be Beautiful Enough For Us to Be Beautiful Together. ‘If I were two inches tall/ I would sit on your shoulder all day/ and nurture a relationship with your earlobe/ my hands would be too small to effectively touch you.'”

“I once asked Minneapolis poet Paul Dickinson whether he’d ever considered trying stand-up comedy. ‘Nah,’ he said. ‘It’s better to be the funny poet than the poetic comedian.'”

“Mira Gonzalez portrays bleakness in such vibrant verse that it’s hard to believe she actually wants to starve to death during sex. Still, I’m inclined to believe her.”

Jay Gabler is proud that the final poem in the book was first published at Unreality House.

Photoillustration by Mira Gonzalez via Tumblr