"The humor of Lindsay Bernal is rife with allusion to the history of American poetic tradition and cut with merciless self-reflection . . . or as Bernal herself says, 'Something there is that doesn't love melodrama.' But this is not a book of self-involvement or melodrama. These poems question what we take for granted about language and the ways our own words can bind us: 'Darkness doesn't descend suddenly at all.'"
"Has there ever been a poet so wry and yet so generous of heart? I can only think of Lindsay Bernal, whose irreverent voice somehow harmonizes truth’s cacophony with the warm hum of doubt. In What It Doesn’t Have to Do With, she pays unsparing attention to the awkward, the ambivalent, and the tiny ecstasies of minor moments, asking always 'Tender or horrific?' That the answer is both betrays the uncanny feeling and intelligence of Bernal’s stunning first book. Here, friends text crude confessions, a sudden death subsumes a family, and the ephemeral intimacies of youth achieve incandescent permanence: 'Before the catastrophe / (marriage, Maman, et cetera) // there was self / & self, my fleeting // unchangeable nature, / a pressure on me forever // to lose, elude / —you.'”
"The poems in What It Doesn't Have to Do With by Lindsay Bernal feel like right now: this raw moment and this vertiginous landscape and a used-up world. Emojis and a mouse named Heathcliff and Mark Rothko. The aching body and the wounded heart. Reading this book, I smile. I wince. I want to turn off all the lights, everywhere, and let in the light of the sad moon above."
Available for purchase here.
Listen to an author Q&A here.