Friday, April 29, 2011

WRESTLING ANGELS Poetic Monologues by Freddy Frankel

Poetic Monologues by Freddy Frankel
Ibbetson Street Press, 57 pgs. $14

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Review by Susan Tepper

In a collection as powerful and eclectic as Wrestling Angels, it seemed appropriate to begin the review with a quote from Shakespeare: “All the world’s a stage / And all the men and women merely players;” Freddy Frankel’s players, lifted from the bible and from history, get to have their say. These are not reluctant players he has brought to the page. But characters, (and place and document) who own their history, resplendent or vile, and move forward with a kind of persuasive stridency on the stage (page) to take their rightful place at their mark under the light. We hear from Job, Saul, Moses, Rachel, Hitler, Rebekkah, Noah. Others. Each perfectly sure what they’re doing here. The words they speak are gripping and often startling. Frankel begins these monologues with none other than the woman called Eve. She presents as innocent and sultry, an intriguing combination that made me wonder if Eve was perhaps the first female hysteric. Frankel’s field, before entering the fields of poetry, was psychiatry. And though his Poetic Monologues are written in a light, deft hand, the underpinnings of analysis seem to shadow, at times, the myriad voices. This is not a weakness of the book but a strength. The lines are perfect. There is music to be found here, too. Wrestling Angels is meant to provoke and entice the reader. It does. And, then some.

***** Susan Tepper-----Susan Tepper grew up on Long Island where many of the stories in DEER take place. Before settling down to study writing at NYU and New School, she was an actress, flight attendant, marketing manager, tour guide, singer, television producer, interior decorator, rescue worker and more.

Many of her stories, poems and essays have been published in the US and abroad, appearing in fine journals and periodicals including American Letters & Commentary, Salt Hill, Boston Review, Green Mountains Review, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Crannog, Poetry Salzburg, Ibbetson Street Press and elsewhere. Susan has received 5 Pushcart Prize nominations for fiction and poetry, and she curates the reading series FIZZ at KGB Bar in New York City.

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