Guernica and Triple Canopy: Two Not to Miss
Two pieces of writing that caught my eye today were Bridget Potter’s essay “Lucky Girl” in Guernica, and Joshua Cohen’s “Thirty-Six Shades of Prussian Blue” in Triple Canopy.
Potter’s startling essay relays her experience getting an illegal abortion as a nineteen-year-old in 1962 America, and the bevy of options and predicaments that came along with it–the social stigma of being an unwed mother, her humorous if stygian attempts to self-abort, and her final lone and costly trip by which she saved face. The title is sincere and ironic, revealing both Potter’s precarious position and her fortune at having survived a procedure by which, around that time, seventeen percent of women reportedly died yearly in the U.S.
In “Prussian Blue,” Cohen curates a paean to the color Prussian blue, by selecting texts which refer to the origin of the color (the first manufactured color), provide a chart of its literary pedigree (having been worthy of musings by Wordsworth, Baudelaire and Christina Rossetti), and more. Prussian blue was used, according to this piece, to hide secret notations on the buttons and socks of spies and reveal, by turning the walls of delousing chambers blue, some of the most hideous crimes committed against humanity. Cohen’s collage is a curatorial wonder.