Thursday, June 28, 2012

Skeleton Leaves by Helen Marshall

Skeleton Leaves: A Collection
Skeleton Leaves by Helen Marshall
Kelp Queen Press, 2011
ISBN 978-09786959-0-1
It has been a while since I had something to offer for Poetry Friday. I'm happy to return with Helen Marshall's Skeleton Leaves, a cycle of poems about a strange boy, shadows, and motherhood.

There is a phenomenon, they say,
Today's host is Paper Tigers;  visit for more poems.
           that when an ocean liner sinks
the weight of it sucks
the swimming passengers behind—

a certain kind of magnetism.

That was Peter flying. 
—from Skeleton Leaves
by Helen Marshall

“Helen Marshall takes a children’s classic, strips away the flesh, and reveals the dark heart of Peter Pan beating beneath. At once about the violence of immature imaginings and the bitterness of banal adulthood where those imaginings are abandoned, Skeleton Leaves is magical in the true meaning of the word: dangerous and wild and hauntingly seductive. Disturbing as hell, yet extraordinarily compassionate, its ambition creeps up on you to quite dizzying effect. Reading these poems is an awfully big adventure indeed.”
       —Robert Shearman, author of Everyone’s Just So So Special 
           and Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical

We are, all of us, vessels for our former selves, the children we once were. I think we owe those children proper sustenance. 
I think stories are what those children like best to eat. 
Helen Marshall writes deliciously. You should taste her work. It is very dark chocolate, the kind that can keep you up nights. It is salty licorice. It is so many things. So many flavors, all of them good: Peter Pan, but with top notes of Nabokov and Rilke.

When Helen tells me a story, I get lost in it.    

She has another book coming soon.  
Hair Side, Flesh Side
It will be release in November 2012
by Chizine Publications

I know the soft velvet of the flesh side and the smooth, oiled surface of the hair side. I have studied the pattern of follicles, traced the network of veins that undergirds our most precious documents, the records of civilization, the rise and fall of human knowledge . . ."
A child receives the body of Saint Lucia of Syracuse for her seventh birthday.* A rebelling angel rewrites the Book of Judgment to protect the woman he loves. A young woman discovers the lost manuscript of Jane Austen written on the inside of her skin. A 747 populated by a dying pantheon makes the extraordinary journey to the beginning of the universe. 

I haven't even touched on the wonderful illustrations by Chris Roberts.
They are featured in this trailer.

*This story drove me crazy with delight. I want them all, all of Helen's stories and poems.
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