Lilyfoil + 3

Elizabeth Treadwell

2004 • 80 pp. • $12.00
ISBN: 9781882022533
Poetry, Drama

Purchase from Small Press Distribution

“I imagine this “Lilyfoil” as a modern heroine, a no-nonsense young woman in the extensive nonsense of “scenarioville.” She cuts through the “postnatural pap” and keeps coming; sallies into the “sullied grainhouse” as necessary. Elizabeth Treadwell wades into the “pioneer rubbish” of “Rumsfeldhouse” and the tabloid rubbish of the reign of QE2, setting off linguistic fireworks until we become new Elizabethans.”
—Rae Armantrout

“In her recent books, Elizabeth Treadwell has been pushing hard against language to get to a deeper and often overlooked musicality in our world. In Lilyfoil + 3 she arrives at a musicality that is feminist and angular; that is Gertrude Stein and Mina Loy; that is pointed and luminous; that is, in short, Lilyfoil, not lily flower.”
—Juliana Spahr

“Elizabeth Treadwell’s art offers irresistible engagement with the intersections of poetry and fiction, culture and intimacy, revolution and description.”
—Carol Mirakove

“Lilyfoil is a biography. Set off by contrast Lilyfoil is impossible to pinpoint. She is the thing when not compared to something is as temporary as a monofilm candy wrapper…We must recognize the seduction of sentiment and the way that definition will suffocate. It is a tenuous line that Elizabeth Treadwell walks, seducing with memory but not letting the fog clear. One thing might be mistaken for another. And memories here don’t have their own particular values but one shared value which is neither good nor bad. Nothing can plague a person in this state. It can only tease them and lure them into fixing an identity. Which is where Lilyfoil leaves you.”
—Sarah Anne Cox

“In our culture now, where plastic-coated teenybopper music rules and the nuclear family is back in style, poets like Elizabeth Treadwell keep the voice of real pain, triumph, defeat, and imagination alive…Treadwell writes from inside people, not about them or around them.”
—Fabula Magazine

“T’s imploded psychological narratives sally through various planes of reference and anti-reference…prettiness has been partly hijacked, so that it must accommodate vultures, tear gas, and oceans full of shit as well as tea-parties, flowers, and doll bouquets. This is a music gone awry from itself, but it has a beat and you can dance to it, reworking Chaka Khan lyrics as needed for psychoanalytic ambidexterity. So like she says, climb out of your shape and wreck it.”
—K. Silem Mohammad


Elizabeth Treadwell is the author of two books of prose and six of poetry, including CHANTRY (Chax Press, 2004), LILYFOIL + 3 (O Books, 2004), BIRDS AND FANCIES (Shearsman Books, 2007), and VIRGINIA OR THE MUD-FLAP GIRL (Dusie Press, 2012).

Her work has appeared numerous anthologies and was discussed as part of “The New Thing: the object lessons of recent American poetry” in Boston Review. 



Rumsfeldhouse: green artificial light, popular demerits.
controversial bellhop, the skies rolled like scrolls.

Our tightening parallax candor,
our tightening spiral alacrity,
congealed oceans.

faint carvings base the moon, moonfaced seashell, cottontail, wind. loose pyjama ship’sprow, little empire, little amusement drawer, the no-it’s-not banquet, the carousel’spull.

pennyschool measure, won’tyou be kind then, so close to the fire. a form-fitting natural
history, call monsters to the walls.

the botox fury sort: underdead terms provisions, no wish to erase Abelard in proper measure.

a big, garrulous love
a long, purposeful stretch
the Pimlico tide

insert soft crater

great hooved clouds of nationalism

pioneer rubbish

it needs to be rid of its cord, pushing his mind o’er the landtrap, coexistence



bright blue modernity
no, we are not accidents
of long ago, the tongues made
of tiny little tongues

sorcerer of information:
off to impress him,
to offer him to scholars