Monday, May 4, 2015

The Antigone Poems by Marie Slaight

Title: The Antigone Poems
Author: Marie Slaight; Illustrations by Terrence Tasker

Genre: Poetry
Publisher/Publication Date: Altaire Productions & Publications (6/15/2014)
Source: TLC Book Tours

Rating: Liked.
Did I finish?: I did.
One-sentence summary: A collection of poems inspired by the classic play Antigone that re-imagines the voice of the rebellious heroine.

Do I like the cover?: I do -- very gruesome-y and atmospheric.

I'm reminded of...: Margaret Atwood, Barbara Walker

First line: And sing/My bitter praises/To nails/And flint/And flesh...

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow or buy.

Why did I get this book?: I was so intrigued by the title.

Review: Inspired by the classic story of Antigone, this stark collection of poetry is both an homage to a story of rebellion and an original exploration of a woman's fiery outrage.

Beautifully bound, holding this slender volume -- 104 pages -- is a treat, and the spare layout gives room to the explosive language Slaight uses.Written between 1972 - 1981, the pieces have a kind of '70s Second-wave feminist feel, but I don't mean that badly. This is the kind of stuff I cut my teeth on in college: violent, unabashed, pagan and passionate. I was reminded of Margaret Atwood, Barbara Walker, and Sharon Olds.

Whether one is familiar with the story of Antigone or not, the poems are easy to understand and appreciate. Slaight's "heroine" is by turns angry, quiet, and resigned, and the brevity only emphasizes the punch of her sentiments.

In this grey dawn
The debauched loneliness
Of your thigh
Across mine
My favorite piece has to be the closing, in which our heroine declares: "I wanted everything./To live all lives, all deaths, encompass all women." I can empathize with that enormous, dramatic sentiment; the mundane end to that poem is positively bittersweet.

The pieces are punctuated throughout by illustrations from Terrence Tasker. I don't know if they were intentionally created to pair with Slaight's pieces or if Slaight and Tasker decided simply to pair the two, but the haunting images are perfect. They give me the sense of Greek theater, further connecting Slaight's heroine to Antigone.

A lovely, dramatic volume for fans of poetry and those who enjoy classics, as well as anyone who enjoys feminist lit and poetry.

I have to give a shout out to this review from Kahakai Kitchen, which includes a delicious sounding recipe for Greek salad with halloumi.

*** *** ***


I'm thrilled to offer a copy of The Antigone Poems to one lucky reader! To enter, fill out this brief form. Open to US and international readers; ends 5/15. See my Giveaway Policy for complete rules.


  1. This one sounds really good! I hope you're doing well, Audra.

  2. This is a great review, Audra. I really liked this collection as well.

  3. I'm glad you enjoyed this little collection Audra. Thanks for being a part of the tour!