Ugly Duckling Presse

My Ida
My Ida

Simone Kearney

Fall 2017
Buy"Improvisational, speculative, painterly, queer—if it were less free it'd be philosophy."
A sequence of meditations on the strange and relentless nature of our longing for completion, My Ida is an elegy to our incompletion. Drawing from Gertrude Stein’s novel Ida, Kearney’s own Ida is both a real and imagined other: a borrowing, a projection, a decoy. Here, the theatre of longing is a theatre of language, where the distances embedded in our relationships, not only with others, but with ourselves, circle around and proliferate a wound.
Excerpt ˇ


Ida feels like something
to be mopped up, at least
whatever I can access of Ida
feels like something to be mopped
up but all the sponges lost


I put my face into the jeans of Ida.
I always knew
it would end like this. A cool trail of smoke
coming out from between Ida’s teeth. One of Ida’s teeth are rotting,
I think to myself. Or is it “is” rotting?
I didn’t know if I wanted to press
my face into the jeans any further. The cerulean from the jeans made me think
of the other day. I wanted to know
what the cerulean meant. I just had to push my face deeper into the cerulean.
Close ˆ

About the Author

Simone Kearney
Simone Kearney is a writer and visual artist. She is author of In Threes, a limited edition artist chapbook (Minute BOOKS, 2013). She has exhibited her artwork and performed readings and lectures in New York and Baltimore in the United States, in Hamburg, Germany, and in Ireland. Born in Dublin, Ireland, she now lives in Brooklyn, New York. She teaches writing and studio art at Parsons School for Design in Manhattan.

Advance Praise

Improvisational, speculative, painterly, queer — if My Ida were less free it would be philosophy. What a gorgeous, sovereign poem.—Christian Hawkey
Yes, Simone Kearney has taken on Gertrude Stein’s late great novel about female identity and refusal and has pressured it with possession, the space between bodies that makes the shape of bodies, that makes desire not fickle but determined. It’s aleatory! As such, difficult to say (poetic, emergent) exactly how my/her/my Ida (smoke ring, declarative) forms in and out of formation...It’s so hard to write this blurb! How does one gift wrap a poem that is anti-reification? Like Stein’s Ida, My Ida refuses the winning of defining, the objectification of straight female seduction. MY IDA! persists generously in its offer of winning by way of thinking and desire for every winning one of us. —Rachel Levitsky
Simone Kearney's My Ida is a book about adoration. It reminds me that the uncertainty we feel in love can be trapped inside sentences and other items made of language. These fabrications are guilelessly offered back to the world, which is certain to be perplexed by them, as it was by Gertrude Stein's erotic code. Do not be confused: What you hold in your hands is a mirror; it contains the speech of your braver self.—Lucy Ives