Joanna Pearson is the author of Oldest Mortal Myth (Story Line Press, 2012), winner of the 2012 Donald Justice Poetry Prize and the 2014 Towson Prize for Literature. Her collection of short stories, Every Human Love, was published with Acre Books in 2019. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and daughters
Oldest Mortal Myth
Publication Date: April 6, 2021
The precise gaze and chiseled language of the poems in Oldest Mortal Myth authoritatively convey a broad and deep knowledge. Whether a reimagining a Greek myth in order to infuse it with a contemporary pain, extending empathy and humorous Mitmenschkeit to both denizens and voyeurs of the world’s freakshows, or describing with wit and experience the spiritual affects of medical conditions, the book is infused with restrained but piercing emotion, a subtle metrical ear, and enough daring and wit to write in rhymed couplets to take the obvious, easy way. For instance, with the last line of “De Wallen, Amsterdam”: “The moon above the spires, a sexless disk,/eyes us coolly as an odalisque.” I so admire the refusal to make that last line scan as a perfect iambic pentameter line. It would be so easy; all you’d have to do is add the grammatical, but colloquial, “as.” Which would have ruined the line, and the poem. Oh, and the rhymes in the canzone! There’s much to admire here, much to enjoy.
Tradepaper: $20 / ISBN: 9781586543709
Casebound: $30 / ISBN: 9781586543709