We, the Almighty Fires

Anna Rose Welch. Alice James, $15.95 trade paper (100p) ISBN 978-1-938584-75-6
Welch digs deep into desire, origin, and the chaos of creation in a debut collection of rich, sensuous poems that juxtapose scriptural material with the sexual. Here, the stories of the Book of Genesis blend with such other texts as Wilhelm Reich’s psychoanalytic writings on the function of the orgasm. “Picture the darkest place inside a man’s body and you’ll know what he lost to create you,” Welch writes. Her poem “Desire” begins with an exhilarating declaration: “This is how it is: the smallest body wracked/ with song. Picture a stained glass window shattering/ to let loose hymns.” Over and over again, Welch reveals the depth and disarray of longing. Sometimes this takes the form of “a wave shoaling, seducing a clinker-built ship ashore,” while elsewhere it emerges from the mouth of Noah’s wife, who observes that “To desire another is to lose your wits./ To lose your wits is to know God’s hands.” Refreshingly, these poems celebrate this need rather than coat it with layers of guilt: “I’ve counted my sins/ like quarters; I’ve learned my worth.” If bodies are “open cages for others to dart into,” as Welch claims, she shows that in luring others to oneself it is always possible to be “guilty of being too luminous.” (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 07/16/2018
Release date: 04/01/2018
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 978-1-938584-79-4
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