A review of Dominik Parisien’s “A Mask is Not a Face “ in Goblin Fruit (http://www.goblinfruit.net/2012/summer/poems/?poem=amaskisnotaface)
By Derek Newman-Stille
So much of our identity is attached to our face, our appearance. We construct ourselves and shape our interactions through the medium of visage. Dominik Parisien’s speculative poem “A Mask is Not a Face” explores the notion of a prosthetic face for a skinless girl, a face made out of butterflies that have been sewn together.
This is a text of emergence, the image of the butterfly embodying the idea of transformative beauty and the potency of change. The image of the pierced butterfly brings to light the beauty in horror and horror in beauty – the mixture of the horrific and attractive that is intimately involved in the notion of social masks and constructed appearance. And transformation itself is fundamentally a horribly beautiful experience.
Those around her compare the girl with the butterfly face to a blood orange, Mars, the underside of autumn leaves, and roadside carrion – images that combine life and death, sweet and bitter, distance and intimate closeness. She is contradiction embodied in one form, alternating, changing, complex and carnivalesque.
Masks can be distancing, creating a barrier between subject and object, but they can also be intensely intimate, a representation of the inner worlds of the wearer, constructed from the depths of their soul. Masks can speak.
You can read this speculative poem at http://www.goblinfruit.net/2012/summer/poems/?poem=amaskisnotaface