56k dial-up. Ouija boards. Crushes.
Internet Girlfriend explores the intersection of the internet, the occult, and sexuality.
These poems mirror the abyss: divination, webcamming, myth, instant messages, queerness, witchcraft—all in the name of trying to feel something.
“Stephanie Valente’s internet girlfriend oozes with style. In an age of Y2K nostalgia, this collection of poems somehow makes the dial-up days feel glamorous while also experimenting with form in such a way that makes me excited for the future, assuming it will contain more poetry like this. These poems are a mystical time warp, a sequined occult ritual, and a lip gloss kiss stain emoji all at once. Valente writes: “please make / everything feel / opalescent // now and / forever” & that is exactly what every single poem in this collection does.”
— Kailey Tedesco, author of She Used to be on a Milk Carton, Lizzie, Speak, and FOREVERHAUS
“In Valente’s debut book, Internet Girlfriend, we go on enchanting dates with poems. They envelop us in a simultaneously glossy and sinister sheen, turning us on—maybe even to our meta-reality. As words, glitching pixels, codes, and messaging accumulate, we peer into the sheer magic of a loose language, a reckoning with our inner teenager, and wherein the internet as our lover; Meaning develops past the screens. We become engaged to our witch hood.”
—Katherine Factor, author of A Sybil Society, winner of the Interim Test Site Poetry prize
“Stephanie Valente's, "internet girlfriend" serves up a vivid nostalgia for a time when the newness of the internet intersected with the newness of sexuality for a generation of teen girls; those who dealt with the impossibility of their cultural irrelevance with ouija boards, witchcraft and fantasy, and eventually, and finally, by embracing a form of empowerment in the many variations of sexual attention their youth afforded them. The reader travels back to the days when we would consult the magic 8-ball "if i could love/ myself,/ it says:/ keep dreaming/ keep dreaming" but is also granted several visions of the future. "Here is how our great romance ends" begins one of my favorite of these poems, "oracle" which shows battle scars, but also wisdom; and in "palmistry" the speaker predicts, among other things, how despite or maybe because of these numerous difficult experiences "in the future, you'll learn to love yourself and it feels strange".”
—Carrie Nassif, poet