Poetry. Akin to a bookkeeper's accounting of what's given and taken in a fraught, uncertain exchange, THE COUNTING HOUSE goes on to record the pageantry and pedantry of courtly affection gone awry. Symbols and origins of traditional rhymes involving kings and queens serve as inventory, alongside elements of Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish and Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex. In forensic sequences of inquisition, scrutiny, and reckoning, Ridley reveals the maiden as muse as modern darling--unhoused and exacting--in "all of her violet forms."
"Sandra Ridley has revealed our closest contradictions in poems where harm is exhausted in both pleasure and pain. These poems find a blackbird baked into a pie, and our own drooling expectation of dessert, the edible object, is replaced by the excitement of the bird that escapes it, somehow alive. We revel in the spectre of the creature's death and resurrection. How close we are to pain and destruction here, but Ridley surprises us with life that stubbornly and lovingly continues. In language that soothes and bites word by word, THE COUNTING HOUSE is a book that lives fiercely in the complex in-between of love and punishment, pleasure and pain, coo and cry."--Jenny Sampirisi