Knife Edge CoverKnife Edge & Absinthe
The Tango Poems

by Lyn Lifshin

Price: $10.00
60 pages
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0985671513
ISBN-13: 978-0985671518

NightBallet Press

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Knife Edge & Absinthe- The Tango Poems is a handsome 60-page collection of never-before-seen "tango poetry" by the legendary Lyn Lifshin. It contains a series of poems that explores the erotic knife-edge of freedom and loss of self in the absinthe of dancing the tango. For a single copy, only $10 plus $2 shipping! This fantastic book is available now!

Watch Lyn Lifshin doing the Argentine Tango! Video


Reviews of Knife Edge; The Tango Poems

These tango poems are jazz, sweet, slinky.They wrap their legs around you and then leap out, leaving your heart beating. They pull you in as only tango does, all passion and juice, cold and hot, smooth and spicy...your head left slightly off-center, off the main beat, not knowing whether to breathe or not. Lifshin is dancer and poet and if anyone could embrace tango in words, it is she. Any poem quoted from this book will make you stand up, quiver slightly and be ready to fall off into the ecstatic abyss of eroticism.
"Tango Before the Light Goes Blood/streaks tourmaline sky./put on your ruby skirt,/transparent as rose gauze/fishnet scissors under./When stars glaze the/tango floor....."

This little book will leave a tart, sweet/sour taste and you will crave more and more.

—Alice Pero

As far as KNIFE EDGE & ABSINTHE (ha - - who was it that said "absinthe makes the heart grow fonder" - lol) - - is a beautiful book. I read it one sitting on the subway
The poems in this book are just wonderful - - reinforcing why she is my favorite poet in the world! You would think with all the work I've read and reviewed of hers that nothing could surprise me, but these poems did - - they make me want to write poetry, they also make me want to take TANGO lessons (I'm serious!)

— Cindy Hochman

The following review published July 2, 2012 on BookRoom Review
By Christina Zawadiwsky

Knife Edge & Absinthe – The Tango Poems, by Lyn Lifshin, published on June 15, 2012, by NightBallet Press, 60 pages.

are what we follow
to find the source
and in tango, the
source is why the
person chooses this
dance, the repetition
of patterns is what
we perceive as
harmony, it makes
us believe every
thing is well
in our universe

from the poem “She Said She Can See Patterns”

Knife-Edge & Absinthe – The Tango Poems, is about passion, both for life in general and for the dance itself. Beautifully produced by Dianne Borsenik’s NightBallet Press, this book of poems is Lyn Lifshin’s testament to a life of romance and precision, of following one’s partner in set patterns that linger like the night air after the dance is over and a new dance may be beginning in the hearts and minds of the dancers.

A dancer herself who has seriously studied ballet, Lifshin unfolds for us the longing that is inherent in the the dance, particularly the tango, as is evidenced in this poem:

“The Lapiz”

you drag your foot
in a circle as if
drawing on the
sand. The foot
never leaves the
ground. The lapiz
is a motion that
can be done with
aggression like a
bull pawing the
ground before
charging. The
follower can do it
by herself during
a pause but
when both dance
they make a slow
circle together,
keep their bodies
still and just
move their feet
circles along
the floor. It can
be very sensual,
a suspended state
of seduction

The poem When There’s No Real Love Like A Tango examines the loves and dances in one’s life that are without passion, and Unbalanced Tango talks about

What should be
smooth, a lynx,
strong and sweet,
is ragged, a car
with 3 flat tires.

Demon Lover Tango tells us:

…..When the music
stops, we are like
strangers, bodies
melting into each other,
awkward with words
in the light

Obsession Tango admonishes “still,/fantasy is the only/place you can keep him” and Ebony Night Tango advises “Forget about sleeping./Who doesn’t want/to go to the edge./It’s a taboo dance, a/taboo of onyx and/midnight.” Valentino Tango acknowledges “……Drums in/your blood/throb. The/electricity could/light up Mars”. In Green Willow Tango we learn about “What/couldn’t stay contained,/what couldn’t wait in/a cocoon of longing,/what winter kept/closed as a fist…”.

Lifshin’s Knife-Edge & Absinthe – TheTango Poems glistens with a myriad of ideas about how the tango is reflective of our entire lives. In Handcuffed To Heat Tango, “the wood floor…./alive in/the memory of/when it was a/dark oak and/there were still/live birds and/southern winds/singing in its branches” radiates beneath the dancers themselves. And in Crush Tango “With him/she is a flame on the/breeze or the breeze/on the flame as/sanity falls away/like snakeskin”.


but hold your partner
like you mean it
when the man
turns his chest
follow it, twist at
your waist
sink into the floor.
All this as the
lilies are
and inside
your body too
Now, push off
and step away
(end of review)
(sample poems)


I didn't know it was addictive,
dangerous as morphine,
mysterious, no, electric as
that touch from a stranger you
know could never not be
riveting as death, Anything
pastel couldn't compete.
Save the waltz for the blue
eyes blondes, I want a tango I
might not survive, exotic
as Valentino in a tent
under a desert moon, that
circle a flaming plate.
This dance is a drug like thighs
scorching, a duel of bodies no one
can turn back from. The heroin
dance, musky as Araby or rose skin
where some woman waits
in darkness, the tent flats
opening like labia


not as well known
as the Cinderella tango
or the Little Red
Riding Hood one. But it's
got more tang and
wouldn't you want that
in tango? It has arms,
there are always secrets
beyond the door. Too
many fall for ex cons,
criminals, deceivers.
What you think is
desire could  be
desire for your throat.
Dance with him if
you must. Let him
wrap his body around
you, feel his blood.
But remember,
be curious but be


when he presses against
her in the corte, the ink
of lies move deeper.
You can read the story
of a life in tattoos. How
skin receives, what
stays. Even on the dance
floor his thighs leave
the patterns of his touch.
When he flings her away,
the ink still dripping,
the script behind her eyes
deepens, darkens, All
she's resigned herself to,
the high of his touch,
those words inked thru
his chest and body,
imagined long enough,
become what's real

—Review by Christina Zawadiwsky
published July 2, 2012 on BookRoom Review