Amber Tamblyn—yes, that Amber Tamblyn—just published a gorgeous book of poetry
I adore Amber Tamblyn. I’ve adored her ever since the short-lived CBS series Joan of Arcadia, in which she starred as the titular heroine, a modern-day Joan of Arc who spoke to God. In fact, I may own that entire angst-ridden series on DVD. (I totally do.) And then of course there wasThe Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants: Her hardscrabble Tibby, the “suckumentary” filmmaker, made me fall for her even harder. But whether you remember her as the teenager who perished first in the terrifying horror movie The Ring or Charlie Sheen’s long-lost daughter on Two and Half Men, we can agree that Amber has range. And I’m about to tell you something you may not even know about her, something that takes her awesomeness to a whole new level: Amber Tamblyn is a poet. And not just like an in-her-bedroom, between-acting-jobs, personal kind of poet. Girlfriend has some serious literary clout.
Her first poem, “Kill Me So Much,” was published in the San Francisco Chronicle when she was only 12 years old! It’s a mature poem that she says was inspired by the Rodney King riots and touches on complex subjects like racism and politics, and which reads more like something you’d hear at a poetry slam than in a middle-school classroom. Her first book of poems, Free Stallion, was published in 2005 by Simon & Schuster, followed four years later by Bang Ditto (Manic D Press). And now we are beyond stoked for her latest collection, Dark Sparkler, published by HarperCollins, and on sale at Amazon starting today!
The poems in Dark Sparkler will explore the lives of actresses who died tragically, long before their time — Marilyn Monroe, Dana Plato, Brittany Murphy, Jayne Mansfield, and Sharon Tate. It will also feature original artwork by a couple of people you might have heard of: David Lynch, Adrian Tomine, Marilyn Manson, and Marcel Dzama. Yeah, I’m just a little bit impressed.
Amber’s prodigious talent had its not-so-humble beginnings when she was a little girl listening to San Francisco poet laureate Jack Hirschman read in her parents’ living room (Hirschman is a mentor of hers who also wrote the introduction to Free Stallion). Not surprisingly, her writing is vulnerable, provocative, and haunting, often mixing contemporary references with raw subject matter.
Amber on religion (“Hearsay”):
A book written by every one of God’s representatives tells me
Salvation is for everyone except God.
On success (“Epilogue”):
My childhood neighborhood is a shrine to my success,
and I’m a car with a bomb inside, ready
to pull up in front of it and stop
On feminism for young women (“Dear Demographic”):
Start mosh-pits in the crowded thoughts of tycoons:
Stir something up with your tongue.
Sip someone else’s logic then spit it out
(preferably when they’re looking) […]
Everyone’s scared to tell you how they really feel.
On, I think, partying (“Heart Lock Heart Choke”):
Let’s tell the bartender we’ve lost the appetite to quit drinking,
That we are empty semi-automatics and it’s time for another round
On falling in love (“C is for Compassion,” from a fab series of poems dictated by the letters of the alphabet for our friends at Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls):
There now, someone is opening
their arms to a body.
Someone is kissing in the emergency room.
Someone is saying ‘yes’.
There now, walking toward you on the street
is someone just as complicated and beautiful as you are.
And F is for the fierceness of Amber Tamblyn! Seriously, this girl is inspirational. In between acting and releasing poetry collections, she co-founded the Write Now Poetry Society, which is a non-profit that seeks to increase the audience for poetry by education and performance, like its Drums Inside Your Chest concert series, and she’s also a regular contributor to Bust magazine and The Poetry Foundation. So by now I’m assuming you’re as excited as I am to see how the actress tackles the heartbreaking subject at the core of Dark Sparkler, and if you just can’t wait another day, I have some Joan of Arcadia that you can borrow.