"The Last of the Red Hot Lovers", la dernier vin de le vieux siècle, La Belle Ajar by Adrian Ernesto Cepeda
and CLASH Books rockets in. Adrian Ernesto Cepeda lives and works in Los Angeles with his wife and Woody Gold their
orange cat. He has studied at the University of Texas and Antioch University. Cepeda is published in journals and
won The Children of Orpheus Anthology first prize at Subterranean Blue Poetry in 2016. This is the third Book
Review This Writer has written for Cepeda, the first being Flashes and Verses . . . Becoming Attractions and
the second Between the Spine.
This book is a series of cento poems written from The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. The title of each poem is taken from the first paragraph of each chapter, the poem built from single words within that chapter, a masterful work. Traditionally, a cento is a form of protest from Ancient Rome, lines of existing poems were reworked into new entities and presented in public. The biography of the write is included in the Foreword and Afterword of the book, always fascinating. Sylvia Plath, an icon of the modernist school, noted for brilliance in confessional poetry and best known for the poetry collections Ariel and The Colossus and Other Poems as well as this novel which is semi-autobiographical, The Bell Jar, published just before her death by suicide.
Electric. Each of the 20 poems presents an entre nous, as if an afternoon, an evening, a night in bed with a lover, a truncated first person narrative. The persona easily switches back and forth between the male and the female, the poet and the author Sylvia Plath, a contusion in obliteration, as the sexes meld, dissolve, the thoughts intertwining in poetry. A truly inspired and brilliant construction, perhaps of someone caught in a sexual dilettante scene. The poet, Sylvia Plath, and perhaps Cepeda caught in the white porcelain room somewhere between gazing into the mirror and the written page. The poet being broken into the crucible, a journey that some do not survive.
The images are surreal, broken, manifesting a haunted beauty, a deep depression, a violence. Lines about electroconvulsive therapy and drug injections, descriptions of the lover, the night clothed in nature imagery. From "I FELT DARKNESS, BUT NOTHING ELSE":
"I liked the flashes
of smoke. The noise. My skin
jolting. First came the smell.
Matches made of intense candy.
I disappeared without looking,
I didn't speak, my silk pajamas,
glanced back, my buttocks purple
scars savoring the hurt from asylum
A New Age progression in Beat Poetry from the roots of the Confessional storytelling of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. A brilliant poetic offering, a magical study in emotional violence that honours the gift of Sylvia Plath to literature and the world. La Belle Ajar by Adrian Ernesto Cepeda.