Brooke Ellsworth. The New Megaphone, $6.50 + $1 shipping, letterpress (28p)
The subtitle of Brooke Ellsworth’s chapbook Thrown is “A Translation,” and the A is an important word here because the chapbook isn’t a traditional translation. Rather than clarifying Ovid’s Metamorphosis into English, as has been done many times before, Thrown translates the classic into the contemporary. The three-poem chapbook focuses on the story of Echo and Narcissus, and instead of dwelling on the end point the way many of us probably did in high school—the narcissus flower, the perils of narcissism—Ellsworth is more interested in metamorphosis itself, in “the change of bodies into new bodies.” Ellsworth tells the story we know with lines spread across the page and in conversation with each other. She employs an innovated use of & to create words like “h&” and “underst&ably.” The reader is not told the story through linear narrative, but sees Echo’s plight play out in language and line:
“& he gave absorbed Echo such meaninglessness to braid in response.
of me of me of me
touch me touch me touch me”
Thrown is Echo and metamorphosis together: repeating what has been repeated so long, while changing it into something new. The poems don’t work to clarify Ovid but to play off Ovid, to echo the less explored. (Spring 2014)
Purchase Thrown HERE.