cover image Natality 


E.G. Asher. Noemi, $15 trade paper (80p) ISBN 978-1-934819-66-1

In a stunning debut collection, Asher demonstrates how poetry can offer an intervention into inherited textual traditions, making a corrective gesture on behalf of voices that have been pushed to the periphery. Throughout this extended sequence, Asher deftly and effortlessly carves a space for LGTBQ voices within familiar, and often forbidding, stories of collective origin. “Scripture/ entrails denuded/ arboreal,” Asher writes, as though describing the work’s own movements through psychic and spiritual landscapes. Here, Asher shows that forging a new creation myth inevitably involves some degree of violence and undoing. As the collection unfolds, this simultaneous unmaking and reconstituting of scriptural tradition is visibly enacted in—and at times complicated by—the presentation of the material on the printed page, as the poems drift gracefully between fragmentation and wholeness. Asher elaborates: “Cleft in two,/ laying each half over, against/ the other. But two halves of one/ orev, each a wing passing through them/ in the form of fire.” Juxtaposed with gorgeous lyric fragments, the sequence offers an illusion of unity that comments on the poem’s content. For Asher, form and narrative in all of their artifice serve as the fire that welds history and modernity, the necessary violence that makes way for the new. (Nov.)