Book Review for UNDO:

Subterranean Blue Poetry

Volume VI Issue VII

UNDO: a treatise

Byline: Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: UNDO

Author: Alice Notley

Publisher: above/ground press

Date of Publication: 2018

Pages: 20

“A windstorm dropped a bird from the sky
It fell to the ground and it’s wings broke and died”
- from Death and the Healing by Wintersun

Once there was the perfect lover, once there was a war, now there is war always. UNDO is a poetic treatise in the vein of the New Age Renaissance Republic of poetry, an enigmatic, rolling liturgy, a call to arms by Alice Notley and above/ground press. This work includes her previously published poem “Malorum Sanatio”. Alice Notley (Poet, poetry editor, educator, artist) born in Bisbee, Arizona, she has lived in the Mojave Desert, New York and currently lives in Paris, France. She has received numerous awards for her poetry, including the Griffin Prize, the Academy of American Poets’ Lenore Marshall Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly Prize. She is also a Poetry Editor of books and the magazines CHICAGO, SCARLET and Gare du Nord. Her latest book of published poetry is Certain Magical Acts (Penguin).

The major themes and images in the poem are healing and golden sequins within a backdrop of war, death and many lovers. It is as if she is losing her religion and yelling at the sky. The poetry is enigmatic with new word juxtapositions and broken thought train, rolling out in long running lines of brilliance and ad nauseum. As if speaking in tongues, the poetry reads in convolutions, an affirmation, a denying of the affirmation, a pushing and pulling, a moving through the healing and brokenness of revolving lovers, a program of war.

“Jan 8

Because you too came in here bloody and torn up still shocked from your death

All on the same battlefield Why bother to live anywhere

Because all of you came here bloody and torn up in my unbeliever’s bedroom

Where I your savior say things and sleep   Will my blood stain

Your bed you asked   You’re dead I said your blood’s dead

Your blood’s a spirit . . .”

Raising the question, is anyone ever truly healed in this way? Perhaps an exploration and questioning of cultural paradigms and the war economy. At the end of the long poem, a repetitive liturgy playing on the concept of healing,

“Falling away so you can remember thoughts all thoughts

For you can in one instant be healed knowing everything

Remembering everyone and finally remembering who you are”

In this “apocalypse” poetry, the matriarchy is unbound and asking for change. As the violence rolls out in the shattered lives of the elite, the artists and every small town grif, this poetry is a mirror. A brilliant write, UNDO by Alice Notley.

Available at above/ground press.

Subterranean Blue Poetry

© 2018