Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wrestling Angels: Poetic Monologues By Freddy Frankel.

*****A Review in by Hugh Fox. Fox is a founding editor of the Pushcart Prize.

Wrestling Angels: Poetic Monologues By Freddy Frankel. 2011. 57pp, Ibbetson Street Press 25 School St. Somerville, Ma. 02143 $14.00 http://lulu.com/ibbetsonpress

A fascinating series of poetic monologues here beginning with characters out of the Torah/Old Testament like Adam and Eve, Rebekkah, Jacob, Rachel, Moses, then moving on to Jesus, Paul, Constantine, Mohammed, Abu Bakr, Erasmus, Luther, Hitler, God. And a lot more. A kind of history of world theology from the beginnings to last week. And every monologue here really gets to the slashing heart-of-the-matter point. Take Luther, for example, a Luther you never heard of/heard from before, but still historically authentic: “ I’m the flash-point in the Catholic Church,/the edge wedged tight in wood, rotted by men/who gather gold dispensing pardons…//hate those stiff-necked Jews, they refuse/to back my faith in God. In my book/ “The Jews and Their Lies,” I put the world/on notice: burn their books, their synagogues; / fire and brimstone on their heads.” (Martin Luther, p.44) He really gets inside-inside the essences of biblical characters like Solomon, Elijah and in just one page captures what most of the rest of the world would take chapters to capture: “I am my mother’s metaphor for failure—not/ the icon of success I appear, She, /Bathsheba, fought to put me on the throne…//The more she carps the more I decorate my palace and the temple/ with royal wives who bring more gold.” B (“Solomon,” p 21.) As deep as you can get. Like five hundred pages of revelatory power in a mere 57 pages. No one has ever gotten more to the heart of the matter than super-perspective Frankel. But not to be read at bedtime.

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