Scarlet Imprint’s Tara Morgana and the Magic of Poetry

What is this book?


The book description tells me it’s about magical work and a journey, seeking a form of the Tibetan Tara mixed with Morgan Le Fay. How does that even work? I don’t understand this book. What am I missing?

Let me start it over. Again. Perhaps this time with a cup of nettle tea by my side……

Before we talk text, let me talk about headlessness. Beheadings, mine, yours. Headless statues and bleeding gods appearing everywhere. The gods, at least my gods, as if gods can be “mine” or “yours,” are asking for my head. Three paragraphs into the first preface I am reading about akephaloi and staring at a picture of a headless statue.

What have I gotten myself into?

Peter Grey, in the second preface, suggests these prose poems are what “the Fool’s journey looks like.” I agree. Because I feel like a fool when this book is in my hands, and I have no idea where we have leapt.

This is a work to be read more than once, and in more than one state of being, state of mind, geographical state even.

I’m working through this book  yet again. This short work is pretentious and banal.

And then I am gut punched, spirit sucker punched, by an image that bypasses my brain. It’s like I’m walking down an ordinary street and all of a sudden a strange hand grips me, pulls me into the hedges, and I stare at a beautiful, dirty face that speaks of love and birds, lost objects and rose-hips. I’m simultaneously confused and annoyed, and desperately trying to remember every word she utters, because I know there is meaning in each syllable, waiting to be unwrapped like a gift.

Is Paul Holman, the author, obsessed with a manic pixie dream girl (1) who doles out words like skeleton keys and candy coated E? We will each of us find who we want to see in these words. Who are you? And who are you looking for? Likely she/he/they/you are in this text.

Tara Morgana reads like a magical journal, too personal to have much meaning for most readers. Except – dammit, there is another headless statue.

This book is a found sign that catalogs found signs.

My head hurts.

I don’t know who this book was written for, or why. I don’t know who this book was published for, or why. I really don’t get it.

Except, I think it was written for me, right now, as an offering, gift, encouragement.


One more reading awaits me. Once I’ve lost my head.

1 – Nathan Rabin ‘defined the MPDG as a fantasy figure who “exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.”’

I received the Bibliothèque Rouge edition of Tara Morgana for free as a review copy from Gods & Radicals editor, Rhyd Wildermuth. You can read more about this book and purchase it here.

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