Emerging poet Julia Cirignano explains that neither intoxicating substance named in her title has “necessarily helped me create great art, yet I feel that they help define me,” hence the title of her evocative first work of poetry, White Wine & Medical Marijuana.
Cirignano may be just starting out as a poet, but her perceptions evince timeless insight. Most of these poems focus on encounters with men. With one, she knew from the first glance that “all hope was gone”; one just likes to have lots of girls, so she can’t be surprised that she’s just “the next one”; one turns out to be a psychopath, another just wants to possess her. She recalls affairs bright or brooding, all ending in frustration and angst. Safety is an oft-repeated theme: she will never be safe, and longs to be safe, yet “the idea of safety terrifies me.”
In brief, well-chosen vignettes, Cirignano expresses secret female feelings, with a voice that is sometimes ironic and familiar, sometimes haunting. Importantly, the collection is free from sentimentality, with a melancholy tinge that never descends into the morose. Cirignano also has the ability to laugh at herself, her own shortcomings, and the realization that others have shortcomings as well.
Appearing in such venues as The New York Literary Magazine, The Endicott Review, and Red Wolf Journal, these poems are expressive and lyrical, with endings that give you pause for reflection. Cirignano has a mature voice for such a young poet, and many strong collections are no doubt in her future.