CUTBANK REVIEWS: Darling Beastlettes by Gina Abelkop

darling-beastlettes-gina-abelkopDarling Beastlettesby Gina Abelkop

Apostrophe Books 2012

A Visual Review by Crystal Hartman

After months spent breaking up and slinking back to Gina Abelkop's Darling Beastlettes, I offer up a letters/review written to her on the sinister, sexual pasture of perversity she has created.
Dear Gina,
I hate you.  In the weight of your words, of your mind, let me be clear... very small doses of Darling Beastlettes are intriguing; dare one read this collection through, a deep guilt seeped in sticky hatred begins to consume all thoughts and any sense of peace deep down in our oh-so-human cores. the title (and titles) suggest, heaviness blossoms -dark and sweet till a taste (repugnant) lodges itself and festers deep in the throat.  Eyelids heavy in the morning, I now pray for an innocent dog at my toes to remind me that there is love.
Yet it is at this point, where the wickedness of the collection has begun to effect my dreams and perspective on daily life, that a bit of light shines through.  What felt obtuse now seems like the thick, clumpy fat I'd sludge through to find muscle, dripping inside of God.
'Femme-Faggotry is for the Birds' could easily stand alone as a small book - imagine Anais Nin writing beside Vesalius.  Here, Gretta and her animalian love affair finished me off shocked and slightly aroused.  And I guess, that really says it all.  Darling Beastlettes, with medievally contemporary vocabulary and analogy, overflows with brutal shock-value that is offensive and upsetting and forces us to talk about it, dream about it and eventually come back to it.
So I guess, thank you.
I will read your next collection.
p.s. still curling beneath my skin
Gina Abelkop is the author of Darling Beastlettes (Apostrophe Books, 2012) and Trollops in Love (Dancing Girl Press, 2011). Editor/founder of Birds of Lace Press ( and co-editor of Prayers for Children( Obsessions include time travel, new wave women, Emily Dickinson, flowers, Joanna Newsom, Kylie Minogue, and Bow Wow Wow, all of which are chronicled at
Crystal Hartman is a multi-media artist, a writer and a jeweler.  Her work has been shown at locations such as The National Palace of Culture, Sofia Bulgaria and the Center for Contemporary Culture Barcelona Spain.  She received her BFA for Printmaking from The University of Colorado at Boulder and studied Image in Enamel at Ox-Bow, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  After completing a grant to study Femininity in Argentine Society, she filmed for Null Skateboards in Spain, and studied public art and cultural craft in Chaing Mai, Thailand. Inspired by storytelling, culture, and the natural world, she creates large and small opening conversations within and between disparate perspectives. Her current artwork, projects and adornment can be found online here.