"In F2F, the word-wall between author and reader becomes a projection screen for a shadow-play of sad couplings—Echo and Narcissus, Eurydice and Orpheus, a pair of instant-messaging lovers. Be warned: the witty, techy feel of Holmes' writing is the flashy surface of a bruising vision of human interaction in which self-exposure is impossible and invisibility is punishingly lonely." —Catherine Wagner, author of Macular Hole and Miss America
"Holmes's attention to sound ("write with light / durable words indelible") is familiar poetic territory, but here it takes on new meaning because it so exceeds, or opposes, the text-messaging medium from which the language is drawn. This is like William Carlos Williams's experiments—or Bob Creeley's—in the excerpting and reframing of casual speech; the perception that a general method could be applied to a new, apparently unpromising and impoverished linguistic realm is one of the book's most forward brilliances." —Charles O. Hartman, author of Island and The Long View
"E, Echo, Eurydice, Emily and Eros—legacy resonance meets current disturbance f2f in Janet Holmes's melancholy music; reader, she addresses you, as she gently probes, pings, love life on the network." —Stephanie Strickland, author of V: WaveSon.nets/Losing L'una
At the core of this challenging new collection from Janet Holmes is the conceit of the sense of sight and the complex role it plays in women's self-identities and relationships.
Emily Dickinson is introduced as the iconic female writer who, unread in her time, is frequently misinterpreted and unheard. Holmes relates Dickinson's self-isolation to the writer's isolation from the reader and the intimacy of the act of reading. Echo, Eurydice, and Eros—other "E" figures, these mythological, their stories relying on seeing and being seen—are related by Holmes to twentieth-century counterparts manifesting as an anorexic, a flamboyant dresser, and a love god, respectively.
Holmes intersperses her meditation with the language of online text-messaging, employing it as a vehicle for probing the dual limitations and liberties afforded on-line correspondents. Through her correspondents' postings, we chart their relationship evolving without benefit of ever meeting or exchanging photographs, the participants deeply affected by the absence of the sense of sight. By turns provocative and timid, lyrical and terse, the voices in f2f exhibit myriad human reactions to how seeing each other influences how we behave.