When you pick up PINK & HOT PINK HABITAT go directly to the table of contents, look at the titles there, you want to read the poems called by these names, then go to the first poem, being afraid is a good thing, then go to "Watch the Village," and then find the poem where it's written: we do not need a/country. We can destroy ourselves here. Somewhere in these pages Lyalin writes, "I start the time machine." Well, she does, and the heart machine and the brain machine, her poems can go anywhere, and they choose to go where it matters. These poems are gorgeous, surprising, full of necessary knowledge and feeling. —Dara Wier
Natalie Lyalin's poems are animated by an urgent, slightly deranged whisper. In the dead of night, when the inane games have finally ended and the "normal" kids are all asleep in their bunks, she calls over to you (Are you awake? Can you hear?). She's asking you to shake off your sleeping bag and go out into that pink and hot pink habitat to commune with the headless boy birds, the beaver humans, and the ghost of Otto Frank. I suggest you do it.
In Pink and Hot Pink Habitat, Natalie Lyalin makes heat. The pages and words rub at each other to make something more than fire, more like a bomb, more like a thousand bombs going off at once. This poet is more than bombmaker though. She herself is the bomb she constructs and sets off upon your reading. In these poems, Lyalin enacts the old work of Flaubert that “The artist must be in his work like God in his Creation, invisible and all-powerful, so that he is felt everywhere but not seen.” When you are done with this book, your own life is more than bombed out. It is more than a “dusty” “gem” sitting in front of you because “Your family is in flight.” You yourself are transformed into a bird rising out of the fire, a “Miniature Life of a Raven,” where Lyalin has made “stars for your teeth,” where your old ideas are nothing more than “ancient dust on velvet.” —Dorothea Lasky