Spirits For Sale, creepy tanka paired with unsettling images and recently published by the Porch, has gotten a slew of favorable reviews:
Just in time for Halloween, ‘Spirits for Sale,’ a book of Tanka poems by Jordan Trethewey with artwork by Marcel Herms, is a dead giveaway inspired by the supernatural and paranormal artefacts found on sale online. I was spooked by the imagery in many of Trethewey’s poems. Here is a poet that has been profoundly affected by these commodities of the underworld: “a religious bracelet,” “carlotta’s spirit” that “clings to a rare clown doll,” the “lawyer and mistress/ last seen in monmouth county/in the nineteen thirties,” “dollie lived with rae/from xochimilco mexico” who was “displayed hung by her neck.”
Herms’ Art Brut renditions of Trethewey’s words are compelling and make his poetic imageries convincingly, and hair-raisingly, frightening. I’m not one for the paranormal, and I opened Trethewey’s collection with trepidation. Once in, I was hooked by my curiosity of these curios that are exchanged online. Trethewey even includes the price that these items are sold for.
‘kidwitgame18again’ was on sale for a whopping USD $400. This poem tells the story of a genie who lives in a girl’s music box. The girl, who has measles, is eventually found “stone dead on the floor”… “[the] spirit laughs out loud/she did not suffer today/in this world madam/and you failed to specify/how much time she should have left.”
If you like the macabre, the ghoulish, and the spectacular, then this book of poetry and artwork is for you. Happy Halloween.
–Eva Wong Nova
SPIRITS FOR SALE’s poems and art live in that uncertain airspace, under one’s foot, between the last stair and the floor below. We THINK we can step safely onto that solid surface. The longer we live, the less sure we are. These poems, tellingly and beautifully illustrated by Marcel Herms, remind us to take nothing for granted. Ordinary objects can change form, like a doll opening its eyes, and even pop up for sale in the world’s online market. SPIRITS FOR SALE is a deliciously unsettling read for all ages. But forewarning: very young children may ask their parents “why” even more than usual.
I have a certain style and taste in writing that is often hard to find, so when I saw Jordan’s idea on Facebook I was intrigued! This book of tankas is so well thought out, with a mix of disturbing background story for each haunted item and a touch of dark humor here and there. Some of them are unbelievably sinister. There are a few that stuck with me!
All the better is the origin of each poem derived from actual items for sale on eBay. I have been perusing the market ever since I read it. My curiosity has been sparked! I enjoyed reading through the whole book in one setting and studying the artwork for each piece. Marcel Herm’s artwork has so much depth and originality. I love his style.
Overall, I am happy with this new addition to my bookshelf and will be sharing it with my niece and nephews the next time they visit! It is worth every cent.
–Kaci Skiles Laws
If you find poetry in oddities and curiousities like I do, you must discover the collaborations of writer Jordan Trethewey and painter Marcel Herms. The Dutch artist and Canadian poet often work together in joining the visual with visual language, but in this gem, they have outdone themselves. Herms’s sympathetically creepy imaginings are paired with tanka poems entirely devoted to the subject of spirit-haunted Ebay paraphernalia for sale. The result is the first first in 2500 years, since the poet of Ecclesiastes declared there was nothing new under the sun.
–Lorette C. Luzajic
Jordan Trethewey and Marcel Herms give us a well forged set of collaborative pieces .. the melding of Jordan’s Tanka-structured poems, and the free-style allegorical art of Marcel, work in harmony—one giving us the content and information in poetic form, while the other visually expands.
Both give us an alternative way of looking at the idea, and work to subvert the subject. Each reveal a satire that is a beautifully tongue-in-cheek commentary on the strangeness of the idea of paranormal objects being sold and bought online.
There is a lot being said by both writer and artist in this collection The complimentary forms work together to create a truly wonderful and interesting response to the collection’s subject.
Ok, time to watch Suspiria 1977 again!