Read This: Cadaver Dogs by Rebecca Loudon

If David Lynch is looking for an idea for his next film, Rebecca Loudon's bizarre, enthralling, heartbreaking Cadaver Dogs ($15, No Tell Books) would be excellent source material. Reading these poems is the equivalent of being swept off to Oz then falling down Alice's rabbit hole, except the Lollipop Guild is on strike and the Cheshire Cat is missing some teeth.

The poems in Cadaver Dogs are full of wounded children and the stunted, haunted adults they become. Animals of all kinds show up unexpectedly, whether it's bears making phone calls or buzzing bees who nest in hair, Loudon is a "whisperer" when it comes to summoning creatures as her muse.

  Those who read the Radish King blog know that in her other life, Loudon is a musician. Both major and minor chords are struck here -- full orchestras and Glenn Gould alone at his piano. These poems are dark fairy tales, and my guess is that if Anne Sexton were still alive, this is the kind of work she would be doing. Cadaver Dogs is an unsettling read, but you will return to it again and again for this visceral, vital poetry. To quote singer Imogen Heap...there is beauty in the breakdown.

The Eternal Leer of the Playground Bully

A clumsy ritual
you hang yourself
with your own striped tie.

You gnaw on leg of deer, rabbit, wild duck,
roasted turbot, grilled salmon. Hungry
for blood, you rub the stewed fruits
into your skin, fall asleep with the light on,
thumbsucker, biter.

Your father made you hunt.
You wanted to take me,
you were strong enough,
you had the goods.

Say it in 5 languages. Oberon
spools out of the kingfisher's mouth,
the mermaid's chorus. By the time
you noticed it was swollen,
ready to burst, a polyp
with double roots.

It was a prank.
It didn't mean a thing.
Sometimes people just die


Radish King said…
goddamn boy, you made me cry at work. i mean thank you, thank you.
Collin Kelley said…
My pleasure, RL. It's fantastic work.

By the way, I finished reading the book on the plane up to NYC last week for my reading. I was sitting on the aisle and two people saw the cover and stopped to ask what I was reading. There were only 17 people on the flight, so pretty good average I'd say. :)
givemethemuzzle said…
Wonderful review!
Another ravishing book by Loudon!

Emily A. Benton said…
yes, that has to be one of the best book covers ever! looking forward to reading it - thanks for the enticing review!
Pris said…
Wow! What a poem. Thanks for posting a review of the book, Collin!
Justin Evans said…
I received my copy a few days ago, and I am going to finally have some time to do it justice this weekend. My wife says the cover fits the poems inside quite well.
Rusty said…
Damn it, I have to get this.
Maggie May said…
fantastic review!

and so very true. her poems are of my favorite i've read in the last few years.
Anonymous said…
Love the poem and that cover is fabulously creepy.


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