cover image Persephone


Homero Aridjis. Vintage Books USA, $8.95 (200pp) ISBN 978-0-394-74175-8

The setting for this prose poem by Mexican poet Aridjis is a raucous brothel, where customers and prostitutes alike crazily paw and grab one another and copulate in frenzy. This is the domain of the night, of Persephone, the goddess of Greek mythology who was kidnapped by Pluto, became his wife and queen of the underworld and returned to Earth each spring as a symbol of fertility. Aridjis celebrates Persephone's world breathlessly and enigmatically. Typical lines read: ""Here's a happiness which can only be entered headfirst, by way of a sex, a breast, a mouth, an ear or sheer confusion./ Here is what isn't here, more present than what, because of its visibility, makes us doubt our very existence.'' Nearly 200 pages of such writing leaves the reader satiated and exhausted. (March)