By Alexandra Umlas
FROM: Cultural Weekly
Arminé Iknadossian’s mother would gather olives from the trees that grew just outside of her daughter’s high school; she couldn’t imagine all of that wonderful fruit going to waste. Iknadossian has not written a poem for this image she remembers all of these years later, but perhaps all of the poems in her first collection of poetry are, in a way, an homage to her mother’s incessant olive gathering.
In Arminé Iknadossian’s All That Wasted Fruit, Iknadossian works to redefine what it means to be a woman by embracing ambiguity. Iknadossian takes the reader on a journey that is hinged and agile; a journey that relies on connection and interaction rather than on containers of definition.
The title of Iknadossian’s collection, All That Wasted Fruit, comes from the poem “Father after Surgery.” As the speaker visits her father in the hospital, the father glances outside at the hospital’s mulberry tree and says, “All that wasted fruit.” This is a sentiment, in America, that we can relate to – on trash day, emptying out the refrigerator, after a meal at a restaurant that we can’t finish; however, the exclamation has larger implications in Iknadossian’s poems. What does it mean to be wasted? What does it mean to be fruitful? Beirut-born, Southern California-raised Iknadossian gifts us poems that examine what it means to be a woman, in these times and in this place, without confining “woman” to any single definition. This is a feminist work, but because of Iknadossian’s background, it is also an intersectional one.
Each of the six sections of the book, “Lover,” “Warrior,” “Queen Mother,” “Goddess,” “Priestess,” and finally, “Wise Woman,” is a form of “woman.” Women are all of these things rather than one or the other, with “Wise Woman” as the finale, as if you have to be all of these women in order be wise. The sexual woman is also the priestess, the woman that needs help is also the warrior. “Woman” is broken out of its container. Read Rest of Review Here