Witches Aren’t the Only Ones Who Cast Spells
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Foreboding darkness gives way to a soft autumn glow as a leaf strewn path leads out of an abyss interlocked with blackened trees. Catherine Garbinsky’s chapbook does not wait to unleash its magic. The poet’s work plays a trick on curious readers as soon as they encounter it. When they stare into the cover of Even Curses End, they are transfigured into the cursed and lost subjects which inhabit Garbinsky’s collection, gazing out of the enchanted, shadowy forest toward salvation.
Catherine Garbinsky’s modern work of poetry is inspired by fairy tales spun hundreds of years ago. These tales have a habit of begging writers to be revive them so new audiences can “…taste melody and marrow.” The fabulous thing about fairy tales is that their life, much like a certain set of magic beans, is ever growing and twisting with each new narrator. Choosing this material as poetic fodder now places Garbinsky in a hall filled with other poetic contemporaries like Emily Corwin and Amanda Lovelace who have also set loose their own set of fairy tales upon the world.
While she smartly avoids attempts to reinvent the wheel, Garbinsky’s poetry is still imaginative and really, quite charming. Her use of form is perhaps the most exciting technical aspect of Even Curses End. Her styling hypnotizes her readers into flitting to and fro across the page as they read “Once I Was A Nightingale.” Then, they become as furtive and anxious as the selkie, a being from Scottish mythology which transforms from seal to human, is in “The Grey”. They will be tossing aside pillows and shoes, their breathe frantic as they search for their hidden skin.
Her creative prowess and highly intelligent approach to editing is a delight to behold. It is highlighted throughout several of the pieces, one such being “Beauty”. The stilted gargle of a man remembering how to speak is exquisitely portrayed. She spins a tale within a tale. It is her ability to personify a character through form that is the true triumph of the work. “Silenced no more…” Garbinsky’s characters “…speak – / words like church bells ringing.”
Read these twisting spells while safely tucked into bed before the teeth of the night stretch out or while following the bread trail to the house of the woman with a “…robin’s egg heart…” They will lead readers off the well marked path into the forest’s tendrils where the song of the beast echoes.
As immersive as any work of prose, Even Curses End is a perfect companion to a well stocked fantasy collection. Set to be released through Animal Heart Press on October 1st, Even Curses End is currently available for pre-order. Catherine Garbinsky’s micro chapbook, All Spells Are Strong Here was published in 2018 and is available for download.
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