Friday 12 February 2021

Review by Laura Sygrove of "WITCH" by Rebecca Tamás

           when the witch first met the devil the devil was 
           a beautiful man and a beautiful woman 
           the devil had long eyelashes and a body that was hard and soft 
           at the same time so that you wanted to hold him 
           and also be held by her …

WITCH is an exploration of feminine power and masculine beauty, of the complexity of human beings (and non-human beings). Tamás’s poetry is gender-fluid, poignant, risqué, and raw. She writes with a duality akin to Anne Sexton; with the tenacity and vigour of a woman force-fed with falsehoods, reborn in vomit. The Witch is liberated of mind, body and spirit. The Witch is full of fire, full of life. The Witch is in all of us, if we dare to delve deep enough. 

WITCH gathers modern musings on the natural world and the occult, amidst an air of apathy and cultural malaise (as in 'WITCH GOVERNMENT' and 'WITCH EARTH'), tackling subjects of inequality ('WITCH AND THE SUFFRAGETTES'), alienation, damnation ('WITCH TRIALS'), morality, and acceptance ('WITCH AFTER'). Tamás conjures spells and hexes for political change, for agency, for mysticism and reality. She speaks directly to women, with their 'soft bodies and hard placards,' and to men who embrace and embody this dichotomy. 

WITCH is profane, carnal, lyrical, and lilting. Tamás conjures hypnotic rhythms which slice through the rigidity of regulated verse, and bares all to the reader – 'legs open to the sky.' Tamás details the Witch’s intimate relations with the Devil-made-flesh, her romance with 'petrol station boy,' and her immaterial exchanges with God. Similarly the Witch undergoes a series of interrogations by an omniscient figure. What do we learn from these interactions? That we have little time on this earth and that there is no 'just' way to live.

A daring debut, Tamás’ poetry-turned-spell book is a call to arms, and to expression without restraint. This crude and wonderful collection consults history and myth for guidance, encouraging love and light in its discussion of tragedy and loss. WITCH is ephemeral and everlasting; it lives on even after we turn its final pages. Unabashed and unafraid, Tamás burns the Witch, bathes in her divine light, relinquishes control, and refuses to be silent:

the wind rubs away their voices
they sneak them back.

About the reviewer
Aspiring screenwriter/writer for video games/graphic novelist, Laura Sygrove is ambitious and indecisive. She graduated from the University of Warwick with a degree in Film and Literature, and is currently studying a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester.

No comments:

Post a Comment