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Heresy
Charlee Jacob
Bedlam chapbook $10

review by J.C. Hartley

25 poems in a 150-copy signed and numbered limited edition chapbook; my copy is signed but not numbered so I'm not quite sure if that increases its rarity value like the Marvel douche edition of The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Charlee Jacob is a prolific horror and fantasy writer, winner of the 2005 Bram Stoker award for her novel Dread In The Beast. This collection with its blood rust cover, a kind of Turin Shroud for the Antichrist, explores a netherworld of horror existing, one imagines, in the post-apocalyptic suburbs.

There is a tendency to overwrite and a predilection for internal rhymes, and rhymes generally, but by hanging in there with the vituperative stream of consciousness the disturbing image, which is her strength, hooks its fingernails into your attention.

Demoniac reads like a song lyric until we reach the part about sitting between the "two disfigured dolls/ chained to the cellar bricks" whereupon the rituals become altogether stranger. My Eye, which begins with a mutilated child turning the tables on an abusive parent, approaches a perverse pragmatism in its sequel: "The body in the trunk/ didn't get buried that evening" ... "the doctors... have... made me capable of setting after you at a dead run" ... "Eventually I will be/ a fragile old person/ with a gingerbread house/ and poisoned tea."

She has the knack of finding the distressing image that will jar, when the poetry risks a gothic flowers of corruption flirtatiousness, as in Eidolon, "hideous and beautiful/ as a tiny drop of blood/ on a baby's blanket..."

This is poetry for lovers of visceral horror, and visceral description; Charlee Jacobs has taken up painting as a form of physical therapy in the face of her severe disability, and she word paints here with a bloody stick. The title poem, with her fleshless "god of the dead" processing through a world filled with images of torture and cruelty, is an explicit revisiting of Yeats' The Second Coming.
Heresy by Charlee Jacob

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