Joshua Marie Wilkinson, Meadow Slasher, cover

At Hyperallergic, Jon Curly invites readers to dive headlong into the abyss in his review of Joshua Marie Wilkinson’s Meadow Slasher (Black Ocean, 2017). Curly notes Meadow Slasher is collection number four out of five in Wilkinson's No Volta series, but mentions reassuringly that readers do not need to have read previous installments of the series to thoroughly enjoy the poet's "relentless descent into damnation." An overview of the collection:

Composed of lengthy sentences with the character of confessional notes, the text reads like a cross between a fever dream and a quest narrative whose single goal is to uncover why the narrator is being haunted. There are many agencies responsible for imperiling him in the course of this poem — the world is, after all, a terrifying place — but the ultimate culprit is the poet himself: “Am I so afraid of being alone with the selves I was?”

All sorts of sights and sites of trauma are splayed across these pages, expressed in many references to cuts, nicks, gashes, rips, wounds, bleeding, cutting, and of course, slashing. The violence inflicted on the body, real or imagined, experienced or anticipated, has its ontological counterpart in Wilkinson’s question: “What did you so want to become/that rent you back to becoming?” Questions, both exasperating and engaging, are littered throughout Meadow Slasher. Wilkinson studied in Ireland; perhaps the spirit of Yeats rubbed off on him a wee bit, as each poet poses rhetorical questions that enthrall and entice the reader to answer the unanswerable.

Find out more at Hyperallergic.

Originally Published: August 7th, 2017