Eleanor Mary Boudreau
‘Please forgive the public nature of this postcard’ writes Eleanor Boudreau, spilling tea on love and its reckless participants. It's a wet business, like dry cleaning. It's a combination of two very elements held together in suspension, like smoke (or rubber?) And it is the thriving pulse of these desultory postcards from the edge of an affair's landscape of exile and afterhood. What a witty, glorious, and bittersweet book. I am here for all of it.
—D. A. Powell
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In Earnest, Earnest?, the speaker, Eleanor, writes postcards to her on-again-off-again lover, Earnest. The fact that her lover’s name is Earnest and that their relationship is fraught, raises questions of sincerity and irony, and whether both can be present at the same time. While Earnest can be read literally as Eleanor’s lover, he is best understood as another side of the poet’s self. The ambiguity at play in Earnest, Earnest? is embodied in the form of the “Earnest Postcards” that structure the book—these postcards are experimental in their use of images and formal in their dialogue with the sonnet. Thus, Earnest, Earnest? is a question of tone, address, and form.
Eleanor Boudreau's Earnest, Earnest? is made of the explosions and murmurings of an inner voice as a human mind tries to figure out intimacy, the edges of entities, the actualities of the world and of memory and, maybe especially, tone . . . is Earnest real, and is he actually earnest? We could ask ourselves about everything, forever. This is exactly the right question, I think.