Following the tradition of the old Talmudic prophets and ancient Chinese sages, Eleanor Wilner finds visionary insights into myth, culture, and the human psyche. Highly allusive and with an ear for the line that is utterly captivating, her poems are at once passionate, revolutionary and elegant. While ranging among subjects as diverse as Hera and the space program, the third-century Lu Chi and the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca, she is blessed with an amazing gift of seemingly perpetual transformation. Collecting the best poems from four previous volumes and adding a substantial body of new work, Reversing the Spell presents one of the most vital and original voices in American poetry.
On Ethnic Definitions
the ghetto was so small, so little
space for the living, and less (by rights)
for the dead—the bodies were buried
standing up: the underground
train to Sheol, packed
for the rush hour of ghosts—when
the train arrives, when the final trump
sounds and the Saved dead rise,
with a sigh, they’ll at last lie down.
“A perfect introduction to the work and world of Eleanor Wilner.” —Publishers Weekly
“Surely anyone who moves from bats and goddesses to Asian art and the politics of the body is worth investigating. This collection, drawn partly from four previous works, is a good starting point.” —Library Journal
“Wilner is attempting to rewrite Western myth and Biblical tradition… Her sudden flights of lyricism are disarming and dazzling.” —New York Times Book Review