The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Drop Jaw by Rikki Santer

This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Stephanie Erdman, is from Drop Jaw by Rikki Santer, released by NightBallet Press in 2020. 

The Ventriloquist Dreams Blank Verse

               British ventriloquist Walter Lambert (1869-1949)
               performed as a female impersonator under
               the stage name of Lydia Dreams.

This vaudevillian dreams of wisecracker
nutcracker mouths—Fanta/sea hair frosted
orangutan. True to pivot & pitch
the mimicry of Lucky Nutty Jones—
drag ain’t new—nursing dummy accident
victim in drop jaw one-act sketch—the jokes
bandaged & blue.  Dig a pony sir john
lennon—the manifold powers of voice
indicating—penetrating—all we
want to do is syndicate any gurney
we row— & the voice jugglers that reign
today—with talking hands that launch ghosts
bel canto sired by larynx, palate, tongue—
rotate a stump like Linda Blair & twirl
the alphabet of vents—the AEROflane
flew— aVOVE the clouds—anid the hard rain.

Rikki Santer’s poetry has received many honors including six Pushcart and three Ohioana and Ohio Poet book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her eleventh poetry collection, Stopover, which is in conversation with the original Twilight Zone series, was recently published by Luchador Press. She is also a member of the teaching artist roster of the Ohio Arts Council, a vice president of the Ohio Poetry Association, and a member of the poetry troupe Concrete Wink.

Stephanie L. Erdman graduated Purdue University and received her master’s degree through Indiana University. Her first poetry collection, Pyrrhonic, is available through Dos Madres Press and her second collection, Sankhara, is upcoming from Urban Farmhouse Press. Stephanie describes her style as anything with music and novelty. Stephanie lives in Northwest Indiana and works as a professor of English, editor, and professional tutor. She lives in Benton Harbor, Michigan with her dog, cat, 18 chickens, a transient partner, and persistent impostor syndrome.


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