A National Poetry Series winner selected by Victoria Chang, Sweet Movie confronts romantic and religious masochism to interrogate spiritual, sexual, and moral agency

Product Code: 9314
ISBN: 9780807013281
Format: Paperback / softback
Pages: 96
Published Date: 10/17/2023
Availability:In stock
Price: $17.00

Sweet Movie’s love poems and ekphrasis echo splintered versions of the same question: how do we navigate a world where the expectations of our performance—our presentation, our means of existence—are dictated by the viewers themselves?

Mirroring the uncertain, unstable tenor of Dušan Makavejev’s controversial avant-garde film Sweet Movie (1974), the voices in Sweet Movie are equal parts docile, feverish, and violent. This collection reimagines a feminist approach to religious masochism to explore the ways women are denied agency by both their faith communities and by outsiders.

Dietzman’s poems move through locations across Central Europe and the American South. Each new landscape informs the next: Memphis appears in Berlin in the form of a dead deer, and Southern syntax haunts an elegy for Gustavs Klucis.

The inspired poems from Sweet Movie use film and art to break open seeing. What results are deeply insightful and spacious poems of faith, displacement, and love. Perpetually observant, Sweet Movie guardedly but desperately consumes a world that has become unsettling and uncertain.

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Foreword by Victoria Chang

Love Poem by the Light of a Documentary About the Polygon Test Site

Nocturne (Slovakia)
Love Poem by the Light of Prague
The Last Judgment – Giotto di Bondone
Healing “Laying On of Hands” Ceremony – Russell Lee
Thou Holdest Mine Eyes Waking
Love Poem by the Light of the Refrigerator
Gosha Rubchinskiy x the Poem
Gosha Rubchinskiy x Timur Novikov
We Did Not Know Much About That City
Dušan Makavejev’s W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism
Love Poem by Train Light

The Margin of a Floating Structure
Love Poem by the Light of Eternity and a Reality TV Show About Love
Stern – Marlene Dumas
Alfa – Marlene Dumas
Lucy – Marlene Dumas

Holy Sonnets
Love Poem by the Light of the Desert
Love Poem by Yellow Light
Two Pale Verses
Dußan Makavejev’s Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator
Big Love Vol. 1
Big Love Vol. 2
Big Love Vol. 3
Love Poem Without Light
Love Poem by the Light of the Documentary Holy Ghost People/Ars Poetica
Love Poem by the Light of Something Obvious
The Last Judgment – Giotto di Bondone


"I didn’t expect the desert, its longform,’ writes Alisha Dietzman in her lustrous debut Sweet Movie, a collection centered around ekphrasis. TV, movies, the self, even art and religion, serve as mediums on which the speaker casts the light of consciousness in her search for meaning. Despite the spectrum of experience presented, this is a poetry that proves, ‘At our vertices: God.’” —Quan Barry, author of Auction: Poems

“The scene opens to a person teetering on a high wire between two trees in a forest that used to be a city. Below, another person gathers a host of paintings that once hung in a museum that no longer exists in the city that used to be a city. That person looks up, knowing that civilization is over, knowing that they love that person on the high wire, and that something new is only just beginning. That’s the movie I would make of Sweet Movie—a taut and haunting book of love and faith when, all around us, hate and nihilism crowd in.” —Philip Metres, author of Shrapnel Maps

“The poems in Sweet Movie are wrought with beauty and being in the world.” —Victoria Chang

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