cover image Scarecrone


Melissa Broder. Publishing Genius (SPD, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (90p) ISBN 978-0-9887503-7-1

In her third collection, Broder (Meat Heart) manages to conjure a psychic realm best described as one part twisted funhouse and two parts Catholic school, heavy on libido and with a dash of magick. This gritty, cherry soda–black book, where Broder “distorted all the mirrors/ in mucus, oil and blood,” is bizarrely sexy in its monstrousness. “There is no need to be pink when another woman is already pink,” she states, and her poems reject feminine frills, choosing instead to dig into the body’s dark spaces for something beyond the corporeal: “I cried/ because my body/ was not waterlogged enough/ to fall right off the bone.” She reduces the female form to its negative space; holes or mouths hungering to be filled or stuffed: “I ate/ the world and I ate/ the world. It tasted like bandage.” When she is frank, her self-criticism is arresting and comes closest to revealing what she seems to be digging at: “I have wanted/ many unfair things/ What is most unfair/ is that the Earth is still okay/ with me being here/ I think, and even/ encourages it.” One must be careful about what’s filling these wants and spaces, Broder writes, “because/ you shouldn’t just fill one space/ with the unclarity of another.” (Mar.)