is an online magazine of the literary arts.

20 June 2007 | Vol. 7, No. 2

Everyday Muse: A Review of Christine Stewart-Nuñez's Unbound & Branded

Unbound & Branded
Christine Stewart-Nuñez
Finishing Line Press, 2006.
30 pages. $12.00.
Check Amazon.com or Powell's Books.

How often are you a bad girl? How often do you want to be? Unbound & Branded, Dr. Christine Stewart-Nuñez's newest chapbook explores the bad girl Kate Moss, telling her "Shake your sweet / ass as you walk." I can say honestly that Kate Moss and I have never been friends. Even when young, vulnerable, and with loads of cultural literacy while perusing slinky images splayed in Vogue and Cosmo, I simply couldn't have picked Kate Moss from a line-up. I'm not even sure I'd want to, even today. And yet Unbound & Branded has given me a different Kate Moss. A Kate Moss who can "tear down the wall," "peel back the universe," "spend your whole paycheck on yourself," and even, "tell the boss / to fuck off."

Unbound & Branded is a collection of ekphrastic poetry based on a forty page portfolio of photos and paintings responding to Kate Mass which appeared in the September 2003 issue of W magazine. Ekphrastic means art responding to art. Is Kate Moss art? Stewart-Nuñez seems to think so. In the pantoum poem "Baby Queens," a poem that breaks a few rules, Stewart-Nuñez asks the reader to consider the fashioned construct of masculinity. In the poem, Stewart-Nuñez contrasts Moss with a group of young boys in "Pumas and Nikes, ready to run / while Moss kicks back in jeans—a plaid-shirted foil." Foil indeed. Moss seems to lean back, relax. She's the point from which these boys flee, "Manhood defined as a flight from the feminine." And yet so tellingly, Stewart-Nuñez questions why thes