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Saturday, May 1, 2021

THE DEEPEST PART OF DARK by Anne Elezabeth Pluto, reviewed by Hex’m J’ai


The Deepest Part of Dark:

It’s a ‘perfect spring morning’….Freshly thawed life is pulsing through the veins of Gaia.  The post thunderstorm sun glistens off of the bright new greenery, birds call cheerfully to one another…..a rabbit sprints from its warren in search of a snack, squirrels scale the branches of ancient maples…and I’m reading a collection of poetry about DEATH.  (How incredibly Goth of me…..”wink”).

The Deepest Part of Dark, by Anne Elezabeth Pluto may give one this impression. With a cursory inspection we are presented with a matte black cover, a foreboding title and subject matters that our species has grappled with since it was sentient: Death, Loss and Heart Break.

Yet, once actually submerged in The Deepest Part of Dark the reader will discover not a slow sludgy doggerel and dirge, but that this collection both celebrates and re-affirms life!  Through the embracing of grief and Death itself we come to the realization that these “negative” aspects of Life are truly some of its brightest facets and opportunities for life’s most gilded memories.   

With elegant control, that betrays her expertise, Ms. Pluto presents these facets.  By control I refer to her use of language in a fashion where she wields the turn of verse just enough to tease the imagery.  By saying just enough you, the audience, can see the unsaid.  This control combined with a rich blend of spiritual/religious iconography, symbolism, references to western myth and of course “The Bard” provide tangible and almost tactile imagery such as presented in Ramadan Postcard” or “Russian Orthodox Lent.  In her series of Texas Love Poems” we are presented the all too real burn of a long-distance love that echoes the longing of Penelope and Odysseus. 

Despite the potent blend of elements in these poems, they remain completely accessible to the reader, whether they are steeped in the knowledge of the author’s references or not.  This, again, can be attributed to Ms. Pluto’s control and skill with verse and language. These elements dance at the whim of her pen in just correct measure to create pieces that are timeless and relevant.   She has taken subjects that could fill the curriculum of a grad course in history or literature and distilled them into concise and powerful poems that can be grasped by all.

With that, I urge the reader to plunge, headlong, into The Deepest Part of Dark!  The deeper the darkness, the brighter the sparkle. 

The Darkest Days

 Silver light

 low sun under 

December memory 

in blood and 

bone tender 

you slip away 

I use dead 

objects to reawake 

the season where 

you held onto 

the golden thread 

of your century 

unraveling into 

Penelope’s shroud 

warp and weft 

looming life 

and blooming death.

The Deepest Part of Dark

Is available on Amazon via Unlikely Books

Anne Elezabeth Pluto is Professor of Literature and Theatre at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA where she is the artistic director and one of the founders of the Oxford Street Players, the university’s Shakespeare troupe. She is an alumna of Shakespeare & Company, and has been a member of the Worcester Shakespeare Company since 2011. She was a member of the Boston small press scene in the late 1980s and is one of the founders and editors at Nixes Mate Review. Recent publications include The Buff alo Evening News, Unlikely Stories: Episode IV, Mat Hat Lit, Pirene’s Fountain, The Enchanting Verses Literary Review, Mockingheart Review, Yellow Chair Review, Levure Litteraire – numero 12, The Naugatuck River Review, Tuesday: An Art Project, Muddy River Review, and Mom Egg Review, with forthcoming work in Fulcrum.

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