No longer overlooked or underrated (the New York Times reviewed her latest book—RIPPLE EFFECT New and Selected Poems from Coffee House Press—and some of the poems appeared and will appear in The New Yorker) and mentioned in this blog before, nonetheless, the publication of her selected poems is cause for celebration.
I’ve dug her work since she started publishing it, and back then thought of her as the punk Emily Dickenson.
But now I realize she is so much more than that.
Another way of describing her unique approach to the poem might be a cross between Elizabeth Bishop and Ellen DeGeneres.
I don’t mean to imply that she is “gay” (she’s not) or that her work can only be compared to other females (it can’t, and hasn’t been, either by me or other critics,) I only thought of them because they are the best at what they do, as Elaine is at what she does, which is like a mix of Bishop’s sophisticated and often enigmatic poetic craftswomanship, with DeGeneres’s wry, understated comic observations that make the mundane seem suddenly and surreally absurd, as well as transcendentally transparent.
But hell, check her poetry out for yourself and you can come up with your own Hollywood pitch (in my screenwriting days out there, the agents would always advise me to “pitch” an idea for a movie I wanted to be paid to write by combining two previous and recent hit movies so that the studio heads could instantly get what it was about and how they could make money on it, like “WILD HOGS in DISTURBIA” etc., which sounds like it could almost be an Elaine Equi poem).