MARILENA ZACKHEOS: THE POET WITH THE LEATHER-CLAD VOICE
Every time I'd heard Marilena Zackheos perform her poetry in the past, I'd left with one thought in mind: I wish I had a book of her poems.
Now I have it. Sitting on my desk. Carmine Lullabies is the latest from a bookworm publication, a boutique indie publisher based in Nicosia.
The launch on Saturday night was a typically dark and spellbinding tour of hell—if hell were a bowl of chocolate-dipped cherries with bite marks and stiletto heels. Having listened to Zackheos perform a number of times, I can confirm once again that it pays to hear her do her stuff live. But if you can't, go to Solonion or Mouflon Bookstores and pick up a copy. While they last.
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There are poets you read to reaffirm what you already know and have felt, and poets that pick up William Wordsworth by the tail and spin him over their heads in a bar. Literally. Which makes reading Marilena Zackheos’ debut poetry collection Carmine Lullabies a little like walking around a familiar room in the dark. The furniture is all there and the same, but the walls and floor are bent and there is a dangerous, insidious, leather-clad voice whispering at you from the shadows. If you let it inside, it will go right for your spine. Or think of Zackheos’ poetic world as a Gothic repurposing of ancient Greek myth, distilled backwards through medieval and Renaissance reworkings—and a lot of scarification, lonely sex and bad memories—and laid out on a plate like a Mannerist still life. At its core, though, Zackheos, who uses the sharp side of language, dissects (or should I say vivisects) the fear that clings to our emotional transactions expertly and convincingly. Carmine Lullabies should be read by every lover who thinks he knows what his lovers are thinking about in bed in the dark after sex.