In Letitia Trent’s latest collection, her poems weave wraithlike through the breaths between cuts, lingering in spaces often left offscreen. The work approaches deified films from the perspective of women, framing lost and forgotten voices against the overpowering mythos of the auteur. Match Cut cherishes its cinematic muses as much it critiques them. It doesn’t burn down; it creates space for women and femmes to respond to scenes and characters created by men.
Trent’s collection emphasizes the limitations of the male gaze and the way women are often reduced to tropes. In “Blue Velvet” Trent says, “with every pan, / every match cut / that when it comes to women, // there are really only two—” The narrators living in these pages don’t wait for their directors to call on them. They shape their own stories, fleshing out tales we love with the woman and femme voices they’ve always been missing. Trent’s verses often dwell in dark places, but their existence is an act of deliverance.
Kolleen Carney Hoepfner, the author of Your Hand Has Fixed the Firmament, says about Match Cut:
“Somewhere between the magic surrealism of a cinematic experience and the transcendence of poetry lies Match Cut. Trent weaves narration through these reflections of films with a master’s precision, enticing the reader along with a bit of edge, the way Freddy Krueger pulls you through a dream. A fantastic collection for poetry readers, cinephiles, and pop culture enthusiasts alike.”
And, from Kristy Bowen:
“Letitia Trent’s Match Cut flickers like a reel of film, where scenes remix and reappear, cold and silver as the screen. Where American and bodily anxieties sizzle and crackle with each frame, forging an electric tension between audience and character, the watcher and the watched.”
Other advance readers include Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick, who says:
“In Match Cut by Letitia Trent, the reader is warned by the speaker in the beginning: ‘don’t go to that carnival, / I can see what’s coming.’ But we should go, anyway, in terror and in awe, as the poems in this collection beautifully ‘utter lace, / sunsets, girls, and sickness’ and marry images such as ‘lizards / crawling into … bridal dresses.’ Much like the ‘several varieties of snakes and lizards’ found in these poems, the reader is reminded how, inside all of us, exists the reptilian brain where even ‘breathing is erotic. Dying is erotic.’ This collection is ‘the knife that shuts / your eyes and opens / the floors [we’re] bound to.’ Match Cut intelligently and boldly explores the horror film genre in startling new ways that teach us how ‘we are all red from the same accident’ with an evocative exploration into why we should take the time to appreciate ways in which the genre invites us to overcome our anxieties and, for a moment, ‘become [our] body /without apology…[and with] no language of sorry.’”
Letitia Trent’s work includes the novels Echo Lake and Almost Dark and the poetry collection One Perfect Bird. Her work has appeared in The Denver Quarterly, Black Warrior Review, 32 Poems, and Waxwing, among others. Letitia works in the mental health field in a small town in the Ozarks with her husband, son, and three black cats.