epithalamium by Laura Page

epithalamium was the winner of the 2017 Sundress Chapbook Contest

“What Laura Page has given us with epithalamium is a set of poems that refuses to blush, refuses to slow down, and refuses to ever pose for us. This book approaches the real world with an otherworldly understanding of its machinations, and despite that deep look into our workings it emerges with a passionate idea of where this could all be headed. These poems question the archetypes and mythologies that deserve to be questioned, and through that process something larger emerges. This is a work that I will return to whenever I feel like being challenged by Page’s undeniable energy and music.”
-Darren C. Demaree, author of Two Towns Over

“The body is the star of Laura Page’s wonderful collection epithalamium, as it should be since its title celebrates the union of two bodies: ‘if you’ll have me, hot ash mirror to your own bright sadness, / i promise to be a real hearth, in time…’ The bodies in these fine poems offer themselves up to and demand reading—in palmistry, before / during / after lovemaking, and even prior to commitment, as when the narrator seeks to ‘parse a flirt’ with her would-be lover. This body is not the coldly-perfect architectural body of the basilica, but rather that ‘fleeing limestone / for a pale, lewd sun.’ Her tulips are ‘aching to be muddied somehow, to be unpetalled.’ During masterful lexical play, as in her poem ‘juleps, an inventory,’ we come across ‘ice, sweat / grip, gripe,’ sensations of physical extremis. Trapped in time, trapped in our desires, we echo mouse-bodies, ‘human dark, buttered, baited.’ Even in repose, we attract tangible substance from the universe, from the ether: ‘soot, spit, rug, scab, / algae, dung, latex, talcum.’ The reader delights as this collection’s poems knit together, animated by their author’s passion. In the title poem, Page addresses us as well as her bride when she says: ‘you’ll have said / i do / so do. despite the salt in the / deeper splinters.’ I enjoin you also to say I do and give yourself up to the pleasure of reading.”
-Devon Balwit, author of Motes at Play in the Hall of Light