In this debut collection, Marc Tretin explores how family is the loneliest place of all. Because of his gut-deep feelings of impotence and his permanent sense of dislocation, his lyrical poems delve into those moments we would prefer not to think about. Uncomfortable with his wife and children, and believing in a punitive God, his feelings well from broken hearted to an incipient violence, that fortunately never breaks the surface. Deftly, this volume of poems, ranges from sonnets his wife would have written about him and his failures as a husband to the poems concerning the broken-lives that enter the doors of the Kings County Family Court. This book is not for the faint of heart.
In Marc Tretin's singular voice, cherished failures unravel across tonal registers that ricochet between lyricism, exuberance, and resignation. An ecstatic poet of betrayal, Tretin maps a firmament of impotence: bodies that humiliate; families that traumatize; talents that founder; cosmologies that fail to offer meaning. These poems adamantly refuse to offer comfort, except perhaps in the telling. Formally accomplished and gleefully perverse, this long-awaited debut reveals Tretin's work in all its variations and power.
Marc Tretin makes a remarkable debut with these fierce, unbuttoned, harrowing poems of family court—Tretin's background is in law—and familial relations. Whether the poems in Pink Mattress are in the voice of husband, wife, parent or child, Tretin turns and stretches his lines to show the family distorted or re-shaped, wrecked or reunited. Wildly imaginative, uncomfortably direct, sometimes baldly funny, the situations in these poems are not for the fainthearted. But they are very much for those who look to poetry for the bloody pulse of human existence and its underside of humor. A distinctive and daring voice is now among us.
Marc Tretin's surprising and idiosyncratic imagination receives full rein in Pink Mattress. These poems possess those rare qualities of the best poems: energy and life. His charged—sometimes slashing, sometimes tender—poems about family are fresh and brawling and never shopworn (as such poems often are). I will remember the sting and beauty of his sequence "Sonnets My Wife Would Have Written" for a very long time.