Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunnylyn Thibodeaux

This time I'd like to focus on Sunnylyn Thibodeaux [here on goodreads, here for the Auguste Press]. I was reading a chapbook called Night Palace and her piece "Tallulah" immediately stood out.

Her imagery is impeccable, it was walking past Renaissance cassone [large marriage chests] and across cool stone floors. But there's a strong undercurrent of medievalism in the work, and it's very M.R. James. It makes you want to ask her, what happened to inspire this poem? Was it eerie enough that I should sit down first? She's got an incredible sense of place, and it's very biblical, very beautiful like the book of Revelation.

There's a real sense of the black and white 1946 film 'La Belle et la Bête' by Jean Cocteau in French, of that incredible imagery and those hallways. The end is also excellent, I love it:
[...]keeps the candles burning low
                            in case he needs to return

There's just this chorus of danger. I mean on Game of Thrones, when they're on Dragonstone, the island, and Melisandre is just lingering beyond, in the dark beside the dark stone walls carved with flat reliefs of dragons--it this level of menace. But at the same time, the reader knows that she isn't actually malicious in thought, she thinks she's perfectly kind and rational, but has dark, terrible memories and hates to sleep. There's this big aporia, this gap between how much we think we know her and what she could suddenly do at any moment. "Tallulah" could have been given to the HBO directors on how to make team Stannis more terrifying.

And I also loved the earlier moment of weight, and pressure and the unknowability of time, night and the dark:
The moon climbs walls
    scales of darkness, heavy night

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