Ceremonials by Katharine Coldiron
CEREMONIALS is a twelve-part lyric novella inspired by Florence + the Machine's 2011 album of the same name. It's the story of two girls, Amelia and Corisande, who fall in love at a boarding school. Corisande dies suddenly on the eve of graduation, but Amelia cannot shake her ghost. A narrative about obsession, the Minotaur, and the veil between life and death, CEREMONIALS is a poem in prose, a keening in words, and a song etched in ink.
Cover art by Mariana Magaña de Lio
CEREMONIALS is a dreamy punch of a book, a haunting, poetic aria. These pages ache with the far reach of love, hum with the slow blossoming of self, crackle with the power of myth. Katharine Coldiron has created something very special here, as fierce and tender as girls, as ghosts.
--Gayle Brandeis, author of The Art of Misdiagnosis
Between poetry and prose, between word and music, Katharine Coldiron's hybrid tour de force CEREMONIALS is a loveletter between art and the body. This book makes my whole body ring like a tuning fork inside its lyric narratives. A specular devotional between artists, words, music and bodies.
—Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Book of Joan and The Small Backs of Children
CEREMONIALS starts of with “Concentrate.” So, we concentrate. We find ourselves immediately in a familiar dialogue that grounds us. The characters are within us, both familiar and mysterious, caught in mist above a lake, caught in a mist somewhere within our bodies. Beyond the words, which are transcendent, the illustrations are gorgeous interpretations and explorations of bodies and the characters within the work itself—with bodies torn and cut apart, like our lives. Corisande is ethereal, that magical elusive part of ourselves, fragile, all-consuming, a kind of lively death. Is she actually there, is she gone, was she ever real to begin with—like Nadja from Andre Breton’s iconic novel. Coldiron paints a portrait of love and loss so beautiful, it needs to be consumed.
—Joanna C. Valente, author of Sexting Ghosts
CEREMONIALS pulled me in deeper with every word. Coldiron writes in intricate, intimate prose. CEREMONIALS pulled me in deeper with every word.
—Katelyn Wong, Vroman's Bookstore
CEREMONIALS is a book about loss, but more importantly, it is a book about love, and the music in Coldiron’s language never lets us forget this, as it wraps us in its arms, lets us hear the rhythms of its many hearts, and we “spin like a top on the grass softened by [its] mist.” We are lucky to have the gift of such a story in our lives.
—duncan b. barlow, author of A Dog Between Us and The City, Awake
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