My heart pounded as I read WITCH
; I felt as if Tamás's words were burning the page as I read. WITCH
is sexy, frightening, and cerebral at once; full of the weight of history, while also being witty, contemporary, and playful. What Tamás does with language, and with the legacy of the witch, is thrillingly strange. She is the real deal.
Emerging from the gloom, in tar, grit and blood, WITCH
is an occult trip, a miasmic universe without stricture. A fissure through the lyric mode, the poems ooze up through the cracks like lava. Demons, vomit, eggs, agony; I want to live inside this book.
Sharp-witted, trenchant and bold, Rebecca Tamás’ WITCH
constellates the characteristics of instinctual life by pulling sexuality into the realm of the archetypal, where we are challenged to face witch qualities within our own unconscious. By targeting the body, these stunning poems awaken primordial parts of our being, releasing energy that had been mobilized towards repression, so that we become free to taste the radical eroticism of volcanic God-speaking feelings. These spells and hexes reanimate historical female silence, demanding that we listen to all that had been kept latent for so long. Can we accept the witch — the female within ourselves — as she is, without trying to make her conform to our expectations? To do so, we would have to adjust our thinking instead of forcing adjustment in the Other—we would have to change ourselves. WITCH
leads the way.
Rebecca Tamás’ WITCH
is the book of poems we need in 2019. Part poetry book, part questionnaire, and part spell book, WITCH
is immediate and vibrant, talking directly to us with its eyes on us from the first page and relentlessly until the end. Like a vengeful hornet, the persona in these pages waits for us as we swim idly by in the lake until we come up for air so that it can sting us again. Like a demon, the persona hides under the table until we lift up the tablecloth and see its shining eyes. This is a book that stays with you, long after you are done reading it. WITCH
makes us question what or who we pray to, what we write poems for, and how we are living and if this is really the right way. More than anything, WITCH
asks to reconsider our relationship to humanity and how we use the terms good or evil to explain any universal human action. In the midst of gorgeous and horrific imagery, which cuts us like glass, it tells us to be kind to each other. WITCH
is such a wise book. It tells us what we need to hear.
Rebecca Tamás' language is a site of resistance. She uses magic as a potent tool to shatter the oppressive structures that bind us. WITCH
is concerned with the politics of the body; desire, sex, the sky, rotting fruit. Her words are wet and rich and dirty and full of power. It is a call to arms for witches, to shape a new world.
Jessica Andrews, author of Saltwater
Opening with a “penis hex”, WITCH
is intent on reclaiming the sorcerer as a symbol of female empowerment, conjuring spells where “the smell of freedom is the smell of vomit”. Freewheeling and spirited, these poems tend to take the form of lengthy streams of consciousness, blurring statements, non sequiturs and disembodied confessions to unpick themes as various as logic and friendship.
Ben Wilkinson, The Guardian
Rebecca Tamás's WITCH
... is filled with a sort of propulsive demoniac vitality that powers you straight through it, cover to cover. [...] She is wonderfully evocative, appealingly grouchy and possesses ... visionary instincts.
James Marriott, The Times
A pungent highlight of the year.
Tristram Fane Saunders, The Telegraph
As heretical as it is cerebral, WITCH
rages ferociously through the occult to the obscene. From hexes on patriarchy to a spell for UN resolutions, Tamás upturns the world as we know it into “a small bright filthy song”. A fierce new voice, “red and pulsing”, which refuses to be silenced.
Poetry Book Society
Scatological, subversive and frankly delicious, Rebecca Tamás’ WITCH
is the blood offering you’ve
been waiting to imbibe.
Shivanee Ramlochan, Magma
This collection is insanely good. It arcs terrifyingly, exhilaratingly off the page, demanding of the reader a complete, spirited, whole-body response. It is also by turns: profoundly political; arcane & expansive; sensual; disturbing; hilarious and dark.
By bewitching “language and its vulgar rotations” to do her bidding, [Tamás] clears a poetic space into which all sorts of meanings, identifications, desires and fantasies can be smuggled, unencumbered by the classically male shackles of rationality [...] hers is a poetry that lifts your spirit.
Desmond Huthwaite, TANK
Tamás explores the figure of the witch and her relationship to gender and the state in a way that feels strikingly true to the political and personal malaises of twenty-first-century life. [...] Is it too cheesy to say that I’m spellbound?
Rhian Sasseen, The Paris Review
In giving voice to the witch, Tamás recovers her from occultism, from hiding and secrecy, and makes her manifest, obvious, and visible.
Nisha Ramayya, Poetry London
... returns language to women who have been silenced [...] I devoured her poems, one 'small, bright, filthy song' after another.
Rebecca Hurst, The Manchester Review