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 Short review of Marie Lecrivain's Antebellum Messiah - David Herrle


published by Sybaritic Press




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Though I've read Marie's poems and prose here and there, I'd no idea of her range and deftness. I always enter a poetry book - especially a long one - warily, reluctantly, but Antebellum Messiah kept flipping my pages, not allowing me to shut. I began to jot the titles of favorite pieces onto a Post-It note, and I ended up squeezing them onto three pages.

Marie can be brutally tender, then suppliant, then mystical, then acidic, carnal and arousing. (For instance, I went from the verge of panting to sighing while reading "Virginity".) Though I favor her briefer, vertical poems over the slightly intimidating interludial prose, the book sustains a wavy rhythm.  And the true treasures are Marie's refusal to be dull and her cleverness.

You know how many folks are more attractive in person than in photos? At the risk of unintentionally implying that her individual poems are "unphotogenic" (which is not the case), that's my best way of describing how this 218-page drenching refreshed me: quality was only magnified by the quantity. That doesn't happen very often.


A.B. is anti-boredom and quality quantity.


Too many writers seem overly self-conscious, which hampers the force of their work.  (I speak from experience.)  Now, Marie strikes me as being very self-conscious - but her work is that much more intestinally fortified for it.  It's as if she says, "Holy shit, I'm full of fear and pain, as well as secret dreams and desire, so here it all is: dressed in its best Sunday see-through clothes."


If your book shelf has a free space that's waiting for more than just a spine to show off, Antebellum Messiah deserves to fill it.

Some favorite titles from the Post-It notes: "The Antidote", "Palate", "The Madonnas of the Bush", "Subtitled", "Virginity", "Pigalle", "Sweet Peas", "Rossetti's Choice", "What I Could Not Say", "Where Dreams Were...", "In Your Wake..." and "Genesis: Extinction".







- review by David Herrle 2009




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