In a NewPages review of The End of Pink, reviewer Ryo Yamaguchi says: "There is an abiding anguish that swells like a tidal water through Kathryn Nuernberger’s new book, The End of Pink. . . . In these pages, we are quickly introduced to Nuernberger’s discursive style, a think-out-loud kind of associational reading that makes for natural though somewhat fast-paced lines." Analyzing closely each section of the book, the review demonstrates how each section evolves into the next.
Noting Nuernberger’s use of science and pseudoscience as means to explore personal issues in the first section of the book, the review notes a slow but steady pace that gains emotional momentum throughout. Readers find "not only an interweaving of history and science with the poet’s personal life, but also a speaker who is working deliberately through both approaches, who is decidedly after something, some knowledge of healing attained through a ritual of archival reading.
"While we are given many clear clues early on as to what, exactly, the poet is wrestling with, it’s really in 'Rituals of the Bacabs as the Strange Case of Kate Abbott' that we narrow toward a pivotal narrative moment: her miscarriage."
A new device of exploration is used in the book's second section, "in which she abandons this more direct inquiry and instead offers a cycle, a character study through a series of vignettes on a persona character, The Saint Girl. In these poems—through the freedom this persona allows—Nuernberger deeply explores abstinence and reclusion as a form of necessary suffering."
In the first two sections of the book, Nuernberger grapples with the multitude of emotions and thoughts that stem from her miscarriage. In the third section, the poet makes a return to using historical works as her framework, but "with a transformed sensibility. . . . the poems find a kind of a wisdom—and that wisdom satisfies a therapeutic need without extinguishing anguish as, ultimately, a vital life force, a way of opening up into an uncertain but necessary terrain."
The review concludes: "This is a collection of extraordinary resolve, a book that works through emotional turmoil with a steadfast earnestness that resists privatizing pain at the same time it refuses to make something clever or ostentatious with it. The result is a refreshing innovation on the confessional that reads as easily as a conversation with a friend over a drink while still surprising us with new connections, illuminations, and affecting enactments of psychological healing."
Click here to read the full NewPages review.
The End of Pink is available now at the BOA Bookstore.