Becoming Judas

The second collection by Nicelle Davis, Becoming Judas, is an “elemental bible-diary-manifesto,” that weaves together Mormonism, Mamaism, Manson, Lennon, Kabbalah, and the lost Gospel of Judas into am ecstatic, searing meditation on raw religion. Nicelle Davis is a poet with an eye towards the spiritual. Loosely based on Davis’s upbringing in the back-room of a record store in Mormonville, Utah, this unexpected fusion becomes a “spontaneous combustion” of matter turning into energy. In these poems we encounter Jesus, Judas, YouTube, Joseph Smith, Hollywood, the Knights of Templar, Missouri, Utah, a prostitute, turnips, libraries, and God. Spirituality and faith eventually become, like Mallarme’s “Dice Thrown,” a game of chance: “I know only chance. My feet will / won’t hit ground.” Instead of choosing a faith based in the material world, which becomes a roll of the dice, Davis embraces the non-material of a pure energy: Let there be light.

Praise for Becoming Judas:

“Nicelle Davis weaves–as one of her religio-sacred-cosmos ‘spiders’ pokes–the elemental, mother-daughter, Judas-Jesus-Lennon substances, meta-histories and neo-gospels devouring us as we disintegrate and are reborn to love this grand body-bible-book.

Hold this, if you can–devouring mind at work, singing razor-writer of stanza-line fractal syncopations into photo, interview, letter incantations; as Anne Waldman has said of her poetic conduction, ‘a new-beyond-gender fecund horizon.’ A new elemental bible-diary-manifesto, yes, and also a musical score of the spider-woman who writes in prayer ‘octaves.’ You hear voices–angels, demons, Azrael and Manson, Jesus and Judas, daughter and granddaughter–masks, sheafs, harmonies, and dissonances that few can hear, decipher, or re-magnetize through the ethers and ‘star compounds’ once our skins are stripped and hanging from the ancient suffering trees. Wait: there is Doo Wop down the highway as we careen with Nicelle’s genius magic in this grand, magnificent, luminous creation-braided-fleshspirit word book. You have to caress and then let all unravel. A cosmic whip. A mesmerizing opus, prize-winner, yes, all the way.”—Juan Felipe Herrera

Nicelle Davis ( Author Website )

Publication Date: September 1, 2013

Genre/Imprint: Poetry, Red Hen Press

$18.95 Tradepaper

Shop: Red Hen, Bookshop, Barnes & Noble

ISBN: 978-1-59709-239-5

Download the Press Kit Here


Becoming Judas Full of Spirit

Nicelle Davis' latest poetry collection, Becoming Judas, was reviewed by Emily May Anderson of NewPages, who raved about the spirit and form of the poems. Anderson writes, "The book also […]

Glint Literary Journal reviews Becoming Judas

In the most recent issue of Glint Literary Journal Brenda Mann Hammack lauds Nicelle Davis' Becoming Judas.- "Davis’ book does not wallow in masochism or confessionalism. Instead, Becoming Judas comes […]

Anne Yale reviews Becoming Judas

Anne Yale from Voice in the Wilderness admits that she "could not put down" Nicelle Davis' Becoming Judas.- "A fascinating foray into iconographic studies, Becoming Judas examines, interprets, questions, challenges, […]