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Beauty Is Convulsive

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  153 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Beauty Is Convulsive is a biographical meditation on one of the twentieth century's most compelling and famous artists, Frida Kahlo (1907-1954). At the age of nineteen, Kahlo's life was transformed when the bus in which she was riding was hit by a trolley car. Pierced by a steel handrail and broken in many places, she entered a long period of convalescence during which she ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published October 12th 2002 by Counterpoint
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John Madera
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Carole Maso's a marvelous collagist, and Beauty Is Convulsive finds her fusing Frida Kahlo's imagery and language with her own lyrical fragments, all of which coheres into a fluid, visceral whole. Representative passage: "Once again desire has made a ruin of us. A pile of loamy soil—a dome; or concave—a grave. And sweet pain is a tablet in your hand dissolving, a host beneath your tongue. A sugary skull. A rose. Where does your life go?"
Lisha Adela
Mar 19, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Art history students
This book has layers of meaning for those that know the intimate details of Kahlo's life. My family, originally from Mexico City, knew her so I was able to verify some details. For example, she talks about the baby in the jar. My mother recalled the actual remains of her baby in a jar on the mantle when she was there for a party. But for those that didn't know her life with Diego, "the biggest liar I have ever known," according to my grandmother, this book seems like a never ending cadence of bl ...more
Katharine Holden
Aug 20, 2011 rated it did not like it
Hated it. Vapid, self-indulgent. Found repellent author's insistence on bring erotic imagery into author's little girl years.
Jan 18, 2008 rated it did not like it
Quite possibly one of the worst books I've read. Too much information is assumed to be held by the reader.
Fluffy Singler
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Whenever I read Carole Maso, I start writing like her. And so it’s the words and impressions that linger, hovering above the page, insistent, repeating: Broken. Fragment. Meditation. Accident. Votive.

Composed in Maso’s unique poetic and fragmentary style, Beauty is Convulsive: The Passion of Frida Kahlo is many different things at once: a highly condensed biography of Kahlo’s life, a voice for her words, and Maso’s artistic “conversation” with Kahlo.

Beauty is Convulsive samples freely from biogr
Jaclyn Michelle
Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing

"Something strange had happened. Frida was totally nude. The collision had unfastened her clothes. Someone in the bus, probably a house painter, had been carrying a packet of powdered gold. This package broke, and the gold fell all over the bleeding body of Frida. When people saw her they cried, "¡La bailarina, la bailarina!" With the gold on her red, bloody body, they thought she was a dancer." (p.33)

In college, I was three measly credits shy of a double
Diann Blakely
Kate Braverman’s poetic dynamism in THE INCANTATION OF FRIDA K. makes Carole Maso’s self-defined “prose poem" appear sadly wanting in terms of style. There’s little genuine transformation of subject matter, as Maso herself seems to recognize when she concedes that her book is “utterly reliant” on Herrera’s work—not to mention the fact that she quotes sizable hunks of THE DIARY OF FRIDA KAHLO.

(originally published in the NASHVILLE SCENE / Village Voice Media)
Thing Two
Oct 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Thing Two by: Kazim Ali
Shelves: poetry
I must admit I'm not very familiar with Frida Kahlo's work, have never read anything about her, and am only vaguely aware of who she was and what she represented. With that background - or lack of one - I found this poetry difficult to follow. I'm sure it would mean more to someone who is already a fan.
Apr 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
she reminds me of jeanette winterson. this reminds me of written on the body. it has such wonderful flow and she jumps so flawlessly between herself, frida and diego. oh how i loved this book.

it was just what i needed.
Apr 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Carole Maso is an amazing writer who captures the passion of Frida Kahlo so vividly. "I experience Beauty not so much as a book but as a communion." from Author's Note p.170. To be in communion with one's subject or character is what I believe an artist or a writer strives for.
Mar 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book made me cry on an airplane.
Carol Peters
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Prose poem about Kahlo's life, result, author says, of reading Kahlo's diary. Lovely text, passionate & grim.
Oct 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, poetry, art
Wonderful. Great reflections on the life of Frida, her passion with Diego, her failed pregnancy attempts, her miscarriages, her pain, her suicide.
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Carole Maso is a contemporary American novelist and essayist, known for her experimental, poetic and fragmentary narratives often labeled as postmodern. She received a bachelor’s degree in English from Vassar College in 1977. Her first published novel was Ghost Dance, which appeared in 1986. Her best known novel is probably Defiance, which was published in 1998. Currently (2006) she is a professor ...more
More about Carole Maso...
“In the calm violence of your being, desire.” 2 likes
“I weep flowers, I weep song, I bleed” 2 likes
More quotes…