ALMA, OR THE DEAD WOMEN
by Alice Notley
Alice Notley's Alma, or The Dead Women is a cross-genre book, poem/novel, poetry/prose, comedy/tragedy, that submits to no discipline but its own and was conceived by the author in a state of personal, national, and planetary grief. In this book, Alma, the true god of our world, is a foul-mouthed middle-aged working-class woman, a junky who injects heroin into the center of her forehead and dreams and suffers our nightmares with us. With the Dead Women, a community of spirits she attracts before but especially after September 11, 2001, Alma surveys with disbelief and horror the actions of the United States government as it perpetrates one war and prepares for another.
What critics have said about Alice Notley's poetry:
"In a secularized culture that has lost touch with the traditional languages of the "soul" but which has offered no replacement except to silence its entreaties by dulling it with pills and the evening news, Notley posseses and transports her selfhood like a priceless contraband . . ." Brian Kim Stefans, The Boston Review (Disobedience)
naturalness of Notley's idiom, the distinctive and uncompromising perspective
of her thought, the almost Rimbaudian zeal to break free of convention,
the sense that she is, after all, very vulnerable in her struggle --
all these contradictory elements fire Notley along a comet's path of
7" x 10.5", 348 pp.
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