Nicole Rollender's Reviews > They Talk about Death
They Talk about Death
This haunting, 13-poem collection by poet Alessandra Bava is full of elegant, leggy Death, whose "Suicidal Light demands worship." Death, that Pale Rider, is a central, active character in these precise, word-counted poems, a sort of calm order in chaos, along with writers-and-artists-passed on: Plath, Rimbaud, Sexton, Baudelaire, Henry Miller. In these poems, where “the poet’s table… is set with/ bowls of steaming ink, with forked tongues/ feeding on Truth,” we’re immersed in a twilit world where poet and dead poet confront each other under the “murder of stars” – ultimately creating together the “beautiful corpse of/a poem.” And, these 13 poems are indeed exquisite: In “St. Baudelaire,” the poet spars with Baudelaire in dream where: "I twist the arrows in your flesh,/ I dip my fingers in your scars." In the eponymous poem, Salome “likes her meat rare” and uses John’s skull as a lamp “for her own enlightenment” to write “chiaroscuro poems.” Bava is a poet whose work is informed by the ghosts of poets; as she “carves my own poem, I hear the/ apse rustle” – the rustle is Death at Bava’s shoulder, over which she looks into a world of “unhinged doors,/ thresholds leading/everywhere/ and anywhere.” Read and re-read They Talk about Death.
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July 25, 2014 – Started Reading
July 25, 2014 – Shelved
July 31, 2014 – Finished Reading