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Paper Doll Fetus

Paper Doll Fetus Cynthia Marie Hoffman

A Rumpus Poetry Book Club selection

These visceral, mystical poems give voice to a surprising population from the world of obstetrics. While some of their speakers are conventional (mothers, doctors, midwives), many are embryonic (a phantom child speaks from a nun’s womb; the titular paper doll fetus, flattened in utero, addresses its robust twin) and others aren’t human or even biological (a strap on a gurney depicts the woman it restrained; an embryonic sketch describes its incomplete rendering).Part spell-book, part anatomical primer, Paper Doll Fetus surveys the womb and its environs, and offers us a haunting chorus of its denizens.

Praise for the book
"This book fascinates, surprises, engages, and enlightens on well-trodden subject matter; it is an achievement among contemporary project books."—Camille-Yvette Welsch, Foreword Reviews

“Arising from the history of obstetrics, midwifery, and the many possible experiences of childbirth, these lush and harrowing poems astonished me the moment I encountered them. Here, a lamb’s-wool strap on a gurney describes the woman it restrains. Elsewhere, a phantom pregnancy speaks from within the body of a nun, or a stork, having plucked us from the marshes, spreads its wings with the sound of ‘umbrellas snapping open upon the wind.’ In Paper Doll Fetus, Cynthia Marie Hoffman creates one beautiful inhabitation after another, each a feat of dizzying perspective and musical dexterity. I have not encountered such a moving and terrifying collection of poems in years.” —Kevin Prufer

About the Author

Cynthia Marie Hoffman ( is the author of Sightseer and the chapbook Her Human Costume. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Original Trade Paperback / $15.95 (Can $17.50) / ISBN 978-0-89255-448-5/ 64 pages / Poetry

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