Attack God Inside
As I read the first pages, I thought “no wonder this came out on 2.13.61.” Tricia Warden is basically the female Henry Rollins, complete with hatred, a straightforward style of prose, a suggestion for negative Hallmark cards, and a wish that Christmas be declared National Cop Abuse Day. But as I read on, the subtle individuality of her work began to stand out.
As is unfortunately true for many female artists, Warden is a victim of sexual abuse, and the hatred she feels toward her former abusers is the subject of many a poem in this collection. She covers this ground well, but may actually tread it a bit thin. Her work seems as much a weapon of counterattack as her ubiquitous hammer. But when she strays from her own comfort zone of angered suffering, the results can be staggering and ingenious.
Witness the soft imagery floating amidst the darkness and angularity of this example taken from “Thundermountain”: “dream without end/ dream your pen is filled with/ raven’s blood blacker than disease/ then swallow the moon whole/ & shit sadness for days/ dream for all is lost/ & we like it that way/ dream of being found dreaming vulnerable things/ like whispers of want caught in a fist/ filled with four blood colored smiles… “
She also shows an ability for rolling sarcasm into humor in poems like the telltale “Self Portrait”: “anyone who says the square peg/ does not fit in the circular hole/ has never seen a crazy bitch with a hammer”
All that said, as a male who’s never been abused, I hardly feel qualified to be judgmental about Warden’s work. It has obviously been fueled by pent-up emotions that I’ve never known. I can only say finally that as a reader, I was at times knocked from my own comfort zone. In that way, I suspect her poetry and her illustrations are a success. 2.13.61 Publications, P.O. Box 1910, Los Angeles, CA 90078; http://www.two1361.com