Review by Hannah Thompson
On the last numbered page of Object Permanence, David B. Goldstein reveals the occasion for this chapbook—while staying at Casa da Confraria in Sinatra Portugal, he wrote poems from the perspective of dolls and animals he encountered in the house. Goldstein names the dolls by identifying their anachronistic, and often unsettling, features. Here are just a few of the titles: “Large Head Under Glass,” “Handless and Legless Doll,” “Burning Doll,” and “Big-Handed Doll.” Regardless of our cultural fear of dolls (their fixed expressions, their hollow bodies, their uncanny-valleyness), these titles are scary. Who removed the Large Head from the doll’s body and put it under the glass? Who tore the hands and legs from the Handless and Legless Doll? Why is the Burning Doll burning? And, furthermore, who does the Big-Handed Doll address when it says, “Each of you must decide / how I will hurt you,” (1-2)? I won’t answer these questions for you. Instead, I ask you hold onto your uneasiness as you approach the two most difficult poems in this piece.