Poetry News

Natalie Eilbert's Timely, Untimely Indictus

By Harriet Staff
Natalie Eilbert, Indictus, cover

"Natalie Eilbert’s Indictus isn’t a timely book," writes Jacqueline Krass in a new review of Eilbert's collection at The Adroit Journal. "It’s not timely because sexual violence, which is what this book is largely about, or responding to, or engaged with, is not timely. It’s ancient and current." More: 

“Words are filthy,” Eilbert writes. And: “I refuse to let this be chronological.” Instead, Eilbert’s language shifts and turns, rushes and stops, man turning into serpent into lover into ultimate perpetrator. The fear—one fear, I think—is that he might be all of these things at once, that someone loved can do so much harm, or perhaps that the one who does harm to you may also be the one you love.

Her words are unsteady, sexual and sexualized, violated and capable of doing violence themselves. “I make him just once pierced with hundreds of holes,” Eilbert writes. These poems are littered with holes. Every possible meaning seems to apply: the hole as vagina; as female lack, classically writ; as absence, whole/ness, alienation from one’s self. The hole is the thing that is taken from a woman when she is violated in the way that Eilbert’s speaker has been violated, and it is female power, too. “A poem is a hole in how it is dug up.”

Find it all here.

Originally Published: March 15th, 2019