Elizabeth Mariani published her first volume of poetry in 2008 by Semperverdi press, entitled, “imaginary poems for my imaginary girlfriend named anabel.” Earning a B.A. in American Studies, with a Concentration in Cross Cultural Studies from The University at Buffalo; Elizabeth has been a dynamic force during the rise of the poetry scene in Western New York. This 28 page volume is proof of her dedication to the written word.
The highlight of this volume can be found on page 25 where Elizabeth describes her focus for this entry:
“tatiana: the siberian tiger who escaped from her open air cage in the san francisco zoo on December 25, 2007. she killed one human and injured two others. this is a story about tatiana and anabel, my imaginary girlfriend.”
“anabel and tatiana / made a pact / anabel said / to tatiana /over air and space / energy wind / and friend face / the bosom buddies / of different species / made a blood red saffron pulse / of a jugular country road pothole / slow down for the turn pact.”
In this piece, Ms. Mariani manages to bring the the tiger (tatiana) caged then escaped, joined by an imaginary girlfriend, (anabel), together into their own realm. There is a melding of similarity between different species, that can be compared to present culture. The two embark on a private journey, away from media that wishes to cover the story of the tiger who has killed, away from the police and the reporters, into a childlike dream state existing purely for tatiana and anabel.
Tatiana and anabel escape into a reality of their choosing, one most of us recognize, to view the world through the eyes of a child and an animal. Through metaphor, this text causes one to understand why the tiger escaped, why the animal should not be caged and why this girlfriend, although imaginary, likens to the tiger. Tatiana too, feels outcast, as the tiger, blamed for its instinct, judged for being an animal. Caged as humans often are, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually; this piece focuses on the world today. The need to regain self and to look within and beyond the paparazzi that so often muddles the truth.
This is apparent in the lines:
“how could it be / said lawyer a to lawyer b / that zoo animals / insist on being free / how can it be / said reporter a to reporter c / that reporter b / is too scared to write / what he sees.” Elizabeth continues: “and tigers reaching / for natural terrain / reject the notoriety / and the fame / of the living / of the living mammal / caged for cuteness.”
Elizabeth Mariani is an avid supporter of Human and Civil Rights, The Environment and Art in every genre. Her volume of poetry speaks of her own experience, told through the vision of a woman. Elizabeth’s website can be seen at: www.lizmariani.com and she is available for speaking engagements. There are extensive links to publications, radio, websites and many of her fine accomplishments listed.
Ms. Mariani has been featured in publications such as: Hammered Out (Hamilton, ON), The Buffalo Forum, Artvoice Magazine, and Njozi Magazine. She has had various speaking engagements highlighting: The International Dub Poetry Festival, (Toronto, ON) , Hamilton Public Library, (ON, CA), Jamaican Dub Poetry Collective, (ON, CA), Women’s Studies Dept, (University at Buffalo), Underground Railroad Celebration, (Niagara University), Women’s History Month Celebration, (Erie Community College), and A Celebration of Black History Month, (Erie Community College.)
By Susan Marie