Friday, October 17, 2014

Alessandra Bava’s They Talk about Death

I recently wrote the introduction to Sarah Lilus’s hauntingly beautiful What Becomes Within. (See above). When I read Alessandra Bava’s They Talk about Death, I saw some very interesting parallels, even though each book has such a distinctive voice. Both authors make many references to Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath, for one. Bava’s book centers around the work of other authors; she uses their writing, and their personal lives as a jumping off point for her own work. Bava brings the focus onto the voices in her artistic lineage; it is as much of a presence in They Talk about Death as the poet’s own voice.

The fact of the matter, is that there is always a continuous dialog that exists between all artists and poets, and the artists that paved the way for us in the past. No matter what year, or what century we live in.

There are some beautiful lines in this book that will stay with me for a long time. The poem Our Lady of Napalm, which is dedicated to Anne Sexton, especially stood out to me, not only because Sexton is one of my favorite poets, but because the lines here are so crystal clear, sharp, and evocative of so much emotion:

It begins:

Your nightly wounds
disappear by day onto the page—
voracious words as insatiable locusts

It continues:

Baptized with the unholy
water of tears, in a trinity of flesh, gall
and madness, a red dove soars above the
            pitch black darkness in sparks of lightning.

The poems in They Talk about Death are clever and sharp, but they don’t parade around like a debutante. These poems are humble and strong, but they don't brag about themselves. It was definitely an enjoyable read, and you can order a copy at Blood Pudding Press.

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