Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Harlot, by Jill Alexander Essbaum

Harlot, by Jill Alexander Essbaum
No Tell Books, $15
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Few poets’ roots go deeper than the Romantics; Jill Alexander Essbaum’s reach all the way to the Elizabethans. In her Harlot one hears Herbert and Wyatt and Donne, their parallax view of religion as sex and sex as religion, their delight in sin, their smirking penitence, their penchant for the conceit, their riddles and fables, their fondling and squeezing of language. But this “postulant in the Church of the Kiss” is a twenty-first century woman, a “strange woman” less bowed to confession than hell-bent on fairly bragging of threesomes and more complications than were wet-dreamt of in Mr. W. H.’s philosophy.
—H. L. Hix

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