cover image The Speak Angel Series

The Speak Angel Series

Alice Notley. Fonograf, $27.95 (640p) ISBN 978-1-73780-362-1

This epic offering gathers six books written by Notley between 2013 and 2015 to form a series that invites the living and the dead to participate in an act of healing and reforming the universe. Notley draws on her formidable observational skills to position herself as a spiritual medium through which this collage of voices speaks, serving as a mythic guide toward the new, rehabilitated cosmos. “I am leading to the re-creation/ You are not a man or mammal that is not a mountain/ Nothing is ours we’re free,” she writes, blurring syntax to suggest a more expansive conception of the self. Language takes on an active and generative dimension in Notley’s work, a foundational tool of creation itself: “I am doing everything everything/ making/ the tongue of it.” This desire to make and remake propels the series forward toward a future built on collective possibility over rank individualism: “You’re alive/ forever/ with equality without power/ Over others/ What are you going to do/ Just what/ are you going to do/ With equality/ without power/ without/ someone/ over you.” Notley’s visionary work astounds in its generosity and scope. (Feb.)