Book Reviews

Someone Else’s Wedding Vows: A Journey Into Bianca Stone’s Poetic Consciousness

By: Lorenia Salgado

“And it’s true

I sp41ctuLNQyaLent my whole life in fear of sharing my mind

but with a longing for it to be taken.”

In Someone Else’s Wedding Vows, Bianca Stone reflects upon  fragmented pieces of perception to prosaically depict her views about family, friendship, love, and the self’s intimate interaction with worldly forms. The collection is organized into three sections comprised of twenty-three poems that come together harmoniously and effortlessly.

Attuned to life’s realm of meaning, Someone Else’s Wedding Vows exposes life for what it is: fragile and in constant evolution. At the same time, the collection gravitates around a persistent longing of the mind’s interconnectedness with its past, present and possible future experiences. In doing so, Stone poses an existential task. She reflects in order to acknowledge the self’s place in the world; and it is not simply how we ought to inhabit it, rather, how we should cope with it, as it is conveyed in Reading a Science Article on the Airplane to JFK:” “You’ve looked at the sky / until your eyes touched / zodiacal fantasies—right there in the void / […] / while the mind bloats on intellectual chaos.”

In “Sensitivity to Sound,” Stone depicts a kind of magnified perception in an environment that is not easy to rationalize. Even though she may cognize her surroundings intensely–be it a consuming or liberating experience–Stone still offers hope: “and I heard their terrible / dreams begin. / […] /I could hear her sadness / converting itself to pure energy.”

“The Future Is Here” brings to light the process of coming to terms with human limitations and worldly boundedness. Stone offers a nostalgic kind of hope as she delves into the self’s past to uncover its “malleable” nature: “And the whole feels / detrimental and complicated and forever stimulating. / Which is why we live—and why we send out / balloons into the atmosphere / […] / Nothing bad can touch this life / I haven’t already imagined.”

In “Elegy With Judy Garland & Refrigerator,” there is an ache of moving past memories’ boundaries, with a willingness to surrender into the unknown: “…this human brain that cannot assume the trust position. / [. . .] / And I realize grief is only for the past. / [. . .] / That grief walks barefoot, eternally, / [. . .] / that it knows my teenage ghost / [. . .] /and I realize grief wants me to stay / a child, negotiating a stream of atoms…”

Stone’s poems are intimate and hauntingly inviting. The collection challenges our judgments of the so-called mundane experience to garner new perspectives of what we might consider “dull” or lacking significance. Stone’s poems call for a mental shift, challenging readers to re-conceive and experience reality in a particular way. Someone Else’s Wedding Vows detaches from habitual “mental impressions” in order to immerse us into layers of “irrational” intimacy. It is in such poetic light that Stone’s collection allows temporal moments of independence from the outside world to gather new insights: it will get the reader to “practice vigilance” to experience the meaningfulness of life’s apparent nothingness. Perhaps, we too should, pay attention.

Author Bianca Stone

About the author:

Someone Else’s Wedding Vows is Bianca Stone’s full-length debut collection. She is a poet and a visual artist. Her poems have appeared in magazines such as American Poetry Review, and Tin House. She is an editor of Monk Books, a press that publishes limited edition poetry and art chapbooks. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Purchase Someone Else’s Wedding Vows


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