“What is the use or function of poetry nowadays?’ is a question not the less poignant for being defiantly asked by so many stupid people or apologetically answered by so many silly people. The function of poetry is religious invocation of the Muse; its use is the experience of mixed exaltation and horror that her presence excites…poetry, since it defies scientific analysis, must be rooted in some sort of magic…

Welsh poet Alun Lewis…wrote just before his death…of ‘the single poetic theme of Life and Death the question of what survives of the beloved.’ Granted that there are many themes for the journalist of verse, yet for the poet, as Alun Lewis understood the word, there is no choice…Perfect faithfulness to the Theme affects the reader of a poem with a strange feeling, between delight and horror, of which the purely physical effect is that the hair literally stands on end…

The Theme, briefly, is…the birth, life, death and resurrection of the God of the Waxing Year; the central chapters concern the God’s losing battle with the God of the Waning Year for love of the capricious and allpowerful Threefold Goddess, their mother, bride and layer-out. The poet identifies himself with the God of the Waxing Year and his Muse with the Goddess; the rival is his blood-brother, his other self, his weird. All true poetry…celebrates some incident or scene in this very ancient story, and the three main characters…not only assert themselves in poetry but recur on occasions of emotional stress in the form of dreams, paranoiac visions and delusions. The weird, or rival, often appears in nightmare as the tall, lean, dark-faced bed-side spectre, or Prince of the Air, who tries to drag the dreamer out through the window, so that he looks back and sees his body still lying rigid in bed; but he takes countless other malevolent or diabolic or serpent-like forms.

The Goddess…will suddenly transform herself into sow, mare, bitch, vixen, she-ass, weasel, serpent, owl, she-wolf, tigress, mermaid or loathsome hag. Her names and titles are innumerable…The reason why the hairs stand on end, the eyes water, the throat is constricted, the skin crawls and a shiver runs down the spine when one writes or reads a true poem is that a true poem is necessarily an invocation of the White Goddess, or Muse, the Mother of All Living, the ancient power of fright and lust—the female spider or the queen-bee whose embrace is death…

Sometimes, in reading a poem, the hairs will bristle at an apparently unpeopled and eventless scene described in it, if the elements bespeak her unseen presence clearly enough…

The Night Mare is one of the cruellest aspects of the White Goddess. Her nests, when one comes across them in dreams, lodged in rock-clefts or the branches of enormous hollow yews, are built of carefully chosen twigs, lined with white horse-hair and the plumage of prophetic birds and littered with the jaw-bones and entrails of poets.”

–Robert Graves, The White Goddess

 

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I don’t want to say yes to the future.

Dracula come kiss the mouth and suck backwards.

Sleeping in a garden there are always wires.

Lasceration music I do it to myself.

I make boundaries against the glorious anon.

Women of devil’s island vs. boys of heaven.

Works by me and others I don’t care.

The unknown dead are underground.

I still want you to be okay.

When I slice my heart in half I am surprised.

There are still maskless people in there.

They really care about other people.

Movie stars have bees in their eyes and I don’t care.

Graduate from self to self and I care.

At the end you get a box or urn.

In the middle somebody hugs you.

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Three new poems in Sink Review (poem 1) (poem 2) (poem 3)

New poem in Ghost Proposal.

Two new poems in Illuminati Girl Gang.

Here is a video of my reading (yelling) at the HTMLGIANT lit party at AWP. Thanks to the rad DJ Berndt for taping this.

 

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Last Sext

LAST SEXT

So Sad Today

SO SAD TODAY

"What separates Broder from her confessional cohort...is that she doesn’t seem to be out to shock, but to survive."
–Elle

"Broder presents a dizzying array of intimate dispatches and confessions…She has a near-supernatural ability to not only lay bare her darkest secrets, but to festoon those secrets with jokes, subterfuge, deep shame, bravado, and poetic turns of phrase."
–New York Magazine

"A triumph of unsettlingly relatable prose."
–Vanity Fair

"Her writing is deeply personal, sophisticated in its wit, and at the same time, devastating. SO SAD TODAY is a portrait of modern day existence told with provocative, irreverent honesty."
–Nylon

"At once devastating and delightful, this deeply personal collection of essays…is as raw as it is funny."
–Cosmopolitan

"Broder writes about the hot-pink toxins inhaled every day by girls and women...and the seemingly impossible struggle to exhale something pure, maybe even eternal...there's a bleak beauty in the way she articulates her lowest moments."
–Bookforum

"Broder may be talking about things like sexts, Botox, and crushes, but these things are considered alongside contemplations about mortality, identity, and the difficulty of finding substance in a world where sometimes it’s so much easier to exist behind a screen."
–The Fader

"…So Sad Today is uplifting and dispiriting in seemingly equal measure. It’s a book that’s incredibly human in the way it allows for deep self-reflection alongside Broder, which speaks not only to her powerful writing but also the internet’s magical ability to foster connections."
–A.V. Club

"...delightful...Broder embarks on an earnest, sophisticated inquiry into the roots and expressions of her own sadness...deeply confessional writing brings disarming humor and self-scrutiny...Broder's central insight is clear: it is ok to be sad, and our problems can't be reduced to a single diagnosis. "
–Publishers Weekly

"Broder is probably the Internet’s most powerful merchant of feelings…"
–GQ

"Vividly rendered and outspokenly delivered essays…Sordid, compulsively readable entries that lay bare a troubled soul painstakingly on the mend."
–Kirkus Reviews

"If Melissa Broder weren’t so fucking funny I would have wept through this entire book. Love, sex, addiction, mental illness and childhood trauma all join hands and dance in a circle, to the tune of Melissa’s unmatched wit and dementedly perfect take on this terrifying orb we call home."
–Lena Dunham

"So Sad Today is a desperately honest collection of essays, the kind that make you cringe as you eagerly, shamelessly consume them. Melissa Broder lays herself bare but she does so with strength, savvy, and style. Above all, these essays are sad and uncomfortable and their own kind of gorgeous. They reveal so much about what it is to live in this world, right now."
–Roxane Gay

Scarecrone

S C A R E C R O N E

"Broder manages to conjure a psychic realm best described as one part twisted funhouse and two parts Catholic school, heavy on libido and with a dash of magick. This gritty, cherry soda–black book...is bizarrely sexy in its monstrousness."
–Publishers Weekly

"I don’t know what a book is if not a latch to elsewhere, and Scarecrone has pressed its skull against the hidden door. It is neither drunk nor ecstatic to be here—it is a state unto itself."
–VICE

"Lushly dark and infused with references to black magic, Broder's work often feels less like a book and more like a mystical text."
–PAPERMAG

Meat Heart

MEAT HEART

"Out to 'crucify boredom,' her poems show us how any relationship with the divine is no less at risk of engendering grotesque lust...What makes Broder such a pleasure on the page is her insistence that these dramas play out on a workaday stage infused with surreal Pop and imaginative muscle..."
–Publishers Weekly

"With a title recalling Yeats...Broder risks the divine in her second book...shrewd, funny, twisted, sad poems..."
–The Chicago Tribune

"Meat Heart...is unbelievable and overwhelming for its imaginative power alone, but if you listen past the weird you can hear all sorts of things: sadness, seriousness, life, death, and a whole lot of laughter....Broder is a tremendous talent"
–Flavorwire

"...Meat Heart embodies that strain of sustenance, that sort of psychosomatic excitement most valiant art more or less tries to pull off…Her poems don’t bore or bear down. They beam oracle energy. They pump a music of visions for the life-lusty death dance."
–BOMB

Melissa Broder's Book Cover

MOTHER

“This debut from Broder is as funny and hip as it is disturbing… a bright and unusual debut.”
–Publishers Weekly

"…obsessive, energetic and pop-culture-infused poetry…"
–Time Out New York

"Broder’s insight and honesty will make your brain light up and your hair stand on end.”
–The San Francisco Examiner

"Broder’s verse is acrobatic and whip-smart… its own creature."
–Bomb