MadHat Press

Persephone on the Metro by Wendy Taylor Carlisle

Persephone on the Metro is a poetic collection of revised myths, concerning gods new and old, by Wendy Taylor Carlisle


"If the yoking of disparate elements was a chief characteristic of the Metaphysical poets, Wendy Carlisle is a modern-day Metaphysical. Even the book's title suggests that one of the sources of her energy is the generative friction between contrasting materials: the classical is given contemporary treatment, for example, and Carlisle consistently and simultaneously projects through her richly textured poems—you can sense her savoring each word—the sophisticated and the chthonic, formalism and the free-wheeling, erudition and brio. Always serious but never solemn, Carlisle pursues an uncompromising art and, like her Hercules, who says that to complete his heroic task, 'I move the river,' she's ready to move the river to succeed in that pursuit.

"From Zeus to Cary Grant, from syllabics to the sonnet, Carlisle never lets her verse fall into easy, predictable patterns; her appetitive intelligence won't let that happen; rather, she's clearly having a very good time as she swoops and dives and rises, and the reader can't help but have one, too. An ear from the gospel of Luke that Carlisle alludes to as 'curling toward paradise' is kin to the readers' ears, which also curl toward paradise thanks to her artistry. Hop on board the Metro with Penelope and enjoy the ride."

 —Phil Dacey, author of Gimme Five


"In this little chap, Wendy Carlisle freshens up mythical figures like Leda and Ariadne and Penelope and Zeus, not to mention the Persephone of the title. And while she's at it, she gets her hands on more modern gods and goddesseslike Kim Novak and Marilyn Monroe and Elvis-- and on the men like Tom Parker who created them. I say “gets her hands” because that's what's great about this little book-- that Ms. Carlisle herself is so absolutely present in every poem; and when she calls her lover Darling, even as she falls for the angular guy on the X-files who's about to clean it all up,we can't help but wish her serious luck on both fronts."

—Lola Haskins, author of Desire Lines  


"Here, in twenty imaginative and energetic poems, Wendy Carlisle enchants the reader: page after page of 'little stories–'  poems that re-envision, with impeccable craft, characters from myth, bible, fairy tale, and cultural icons.  Sometimes speaking in persona, sometimes in her own contemporary voice, Carlisle reinvents for us such various characters as Snow White, Zeus, Jonah and Cary Grant.  One after another they troop through these wonderful pages delighting at every turn."

Patricia Fargnoli, author of Duties of the Spirit


"Wendy Taylor Carlisle re-imagines well known myths and our Americanized fairy tales (and after all, what is a Disney princess but a myth?) Spellbindingly told in the voices of real and, dare I say, even feminist women, her poems point out the painful truth: take away the princes, the magic spells, the dragons and epic adventures and nothing's really changed, past and present, all of life really comes down to love, loss, and laundry."

—Margo Solod, author of Cuttyhunk: Life on the Rock: a Memoir with Recipes and Some Very Soft Days,


Wendy Taylor Carlisle lives in the spaces between Texas and Arkansas, Arkansas and Missouri, Texas and Louisiana. She is the author of two books, Discount Fireworks (Jacaranda Books 2008) and Reading Berryman to the Dog (Jacaranda Books, 2000) and two chapbooks, After Happily Ever After, (2River Chapbook Series, #15) and The Storage of Angels (Slow Water Press, 2008).


Persephone on the Metro
by Wendy Taylor Carlisle
$7.95, paperback, 36pp
ISBN-13:  978-1-941196-03-8


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