cover image Erou


Maya Phillips. Four Way, $15.95 (124p) ISBN 978-1-945588-38-9

In Phillips’s scintillating debut, domestic turmoil is transformed into Greek mythology as fate and bloodline frame the legend of her life’s tragic hero: her dead father. Here renamed “Erou,” this character is a vortex of dark matter, a “silver-tongued” tempest of deceit and hedonism with a “smile sharp enough to wear even a diamond down to dust.” With macabre precision, Phillips describes his phantom as “the appetite that outlives him... (one that) eats// himself out of the grave, dines on the neighborhood,/ chews our house down to its bones.” Although permeated with ambivalence, Erou’s redemption prevails as Phillips acknowledges that he no longer has the opportunity to absolve himself, and that his heart, at its core, was heroic: “The hero dies because there is nothing else/ left to do.//... The hero dies because it is nobler to do so./ The hero dies because it is safer to do so./ The hero dies so we understand he is the hero./ The hero dies so he understands he is the hero.” Executed as a modern epic poem that blends urban decadence with transcendental pathos, Phillips eviscerates the idea of pedestrian exchanges. This impressive work invites a discourse that redefines the depths of desperation, forgiveness, and acceptance. (Sept.)