Early Read: The Antigone Poems*, by Marie Slaight; Drawings by Terrence Tasker

The Antigone PoemsThe Antigone Poems is a collaboration between poet Marie Slaight and artist Terrence Tasker, produced in the 1970s but forthcoming, in print-only form, in early 2014 from Altaire, a small press.

The slim volume is divided into five chapters, which are accompanied by Mr. Tasker’s charcoal drawings, which, as you can see from the cover, are strong, assured, and, at times, rather alarming. Like the poems, they’re evocative of the complexities of Sophocles’s play. I’ve taught the play several times, and I wish I’d had access to this book to share with my students.

The poems (all free verse) are surprisingly intimate, given that they often feel like screams of rage. The voice throughout appears to be Antigone’s, as she considers death, life, family, sexuality, punishment, and rebellion. The poems are simple, some fragmentary, but they’re smoldering and haunting. Some reviewers may take issue with the repetitive nature of the imagery, but I found it to be an appropriate stylistic echo of Greek tragedy.

I recommend finding a copy of The Antigone Poems when it comes out next year; try the library first.

* I received an ARC of this book through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program. I was in no way compensated for this review.

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