Stella Corso is a writer and performer living in Western Mass. A graduate of the MFA Program for Poets & Writers at UMass-Amherst, she is a founding member of the Connecticut River Valley Poets Theater (CRVPT) and also performs with Xfinity Theater. Some of her recent work can be found in Fanzine; jubilat; Sprung Formal; and Forklift, Ohio. She currently teaches at Western New England University and Holyoke Community College.
Like the most formidable silver-screen comediennes, Stella Corso’s debut collection Tantrum is at once incisive and generous, candid and performative, full of coos and barbed truths. “I like that I can be a little dumb with you,” one poem murmurs before delivering a shattering assessment of a woman undermined by her lover. Wry and deliberately feminine, Tantrum makes a riposte to many things: capitalism, chauvinism, even William Carlos Williams. (Reading this book is a bit like watching Corso teasingly feed Williams the plums pilfered from the icebox, pits and all.) Self-possessed, self-indicting, Corso’s speakers unflinchingly explore the complex of rights and wrongs undergirding contemporary first-world femininity: “I turned away from my ambivalence / toward my proof, my receipt // I said I’m sorry / I am just a woman on vacation // I knew all events had led up to this.” Corso’s lively eye also inspects the mesh of nature and performance, art and decadence, ideas and things: “I go out into the field in my bikini / though there is no one there to see me,” “I put on my sleep mask / and see stars.” Tantrum is sure to incite and delight.