Elizabeth Siddal still continues to inspire. Dawn Marie Kresan explores multiple aspects of Siddal’s life and legacy in a newly-published poetry collection, Muse.
I was unprepared for the depth of emotion Kresan’s work creates. Her expertly crafted poems touch upon Lizzie’s discovery and role as muse to the Pre-Raphaelites. Several poems include moments of Lizzie’s life that are now famous: posing as Ophelia, giving birth to a stillborn daughter. She boldly addresses John Ruskin, Lizzie’s patron, and Fanny Cornforth, Rossetti’s mistress. Even bolder, her poetry allows Lizzie to mingle with Sylvia Plath and Marilyn Monroe. And it is wonderful.
These poems have an intimate feel, as if I was reading a private journal. I was a snoop, reading thoughts and ideas that seem to mirror my own. For those who still seek to pursue Elizabeth Siddal, Muse burns with fire. Poems like ‘The Opiate’s Seduction’ and ‘Little Lizzie Snow’ are intense and profound with their imagery.
“He painted your eyes downcast, /claimed the right to control /what your eyes gathered in. /Yet, in this, your only self-portrait, /you stare back…” Excerpt from ‘Viridescent’, a poem inspired by Elizabeth Siddal’s self portrait.
I adored this inventive collection of poems, with its shifting perspectives and use of multiple voices. I urge you to snap up a copy