Spirits for Review

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.

–Trish Saunders

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.

–Jenn Zed

Ok, time to watch Suspiria 1977 again!