Head of a Gorgon

Head of a Gorgon

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Author: Reagan M. Pietrucha

Publisher:  Vegetarian Alcoholic Press (2022)

Head of a Gorgon is a narrative in poems that reimagines the myth of Medusa, transporting this ancient tale of sexual violence into contemporary times and examining it through a survivor-centric, feminist lens. Via persona poems that enable readers to hear this story primarily and directly from a protagonist often sidelined or silenced in other tellings, this devastating collection brings the visceral physical and psychological experiences and effects of sexual trauma out of the shadows and into the spotlight, revealing a path along which survivors might reimagine themselves within the societal structures that work against them.

Head of a Gorgon is what happens when ‘words stretch / beyond body’ to become bodies themselves—hissing, spitting, unzipping, swelling, predicting, protecting, recanting, revising, deleting, and most of all, delivering, for this is verbiage that spits forward, hisses to be heard, stretches and spirals ever higher with a singular motive: to resurrect. Pietrucha’s breathless soliloquy does exactly as Helene Cixous prescribes: It writes the venom out of the wronged blood, ‘rips villains / from my recesses,’ and restores the inherent power and creativity of the female, and does it with verbs. Medusa has never been so alive as here in this drama that melds myth and memoir to armor its central tale of abuse, one so thorough and awful that it pierces time, and yet, it is along that very knife that poet and gorgon join forces to shape their ‘haven with ... pitchy songs.’”

–Larissa Szporluk