cover image Between Paradise and Earth: Eve Poems

Between Paradise and Earth: Eve Poems

Edited by Nomi Stone and Luke Hankins. Orison, $18 trade paper (154p) ISBN 978-1-949039-39-9

Ansel Elkin’s powerful poem, “Autobiography of Eve,” opens this anthology and inspires its title, championing a triumphant heroine “wearing nothing but snakeskin boots,” who proclaims, “Let it be known: I did not fall from grace. I leapt/ to freedom.” In poems that present the Fall from Eve’s point of view, disobedience is recast as rebellion or escape. In a prose poem by Brooke Sahni, Eve falls from a static, passionless marriage into erotic knowledge and pleasure. Misogyny is a popular theme: “In this creation/ no matter what gets sowed you’ll always be slut,/ never gardener,” Amy Dransky writes. Naming, in poems by Lucille Clifton, Ada Limón, Nicholas Samaras, and others, is a fertile point of departure, recalling Eve’s naming of the flowers in Paradise Lost. In a lush prose poem by Jennifer Sperry Steinorth, Eve is a magical two-souled creature, and in “The Queerness of Eve,” a selection from a longer poem, Emilia Phillips presents a more violent and visceral accounting: “You made me/ do this, he said, and then I lunged and bit the apple/ in his throat.” The editors have included a strong mix of poets and perspectives, but the absence of an introduction and obvious organizing principle may be missed by some readers. Stone and Hankins prove that Eve remains a perennial poetic inspiration in this strong selection. (Apr.)