And So Wax Was Made & Also Honey
by Amy Beeder
Beeder’s third collection, And So Wax Was Made & Also Honey brims with lyrical invention and dark wit. In this lush universe, Hermes moonlights as a process server and malaria croons a love song; saints emerge from beans while Kronos and Eros argue at a local bar: ‘love’s nothing/but glimmer-to-wither, dawn’s fireflies expired.’ In language singularly baroque and hypnotic, Beeder takes us on a wild poetic adventure: this book is, as Dana Levin says, “a treasure-house wizarding through time,” through landscapes ancient and present, real and reimagined: gold mine to Victorian graveyard, a fair’s midway to The House of Être, from ‘late Holocene out to the farthest buoy’.
Published: December 2020
“In her third collection, Amy Beeder offers worlds past and contemporary in diction nearly Elizabethan, in poems as witty and sly as any from that virtuosic literary era. In one, Phaethon, son of Helios, sends a junk email solicitation: ‘Madame, I respectfully offer you 12 percent despite // the unsteered chariot spokes & wheels thus shattered’; in another, Beeder evokes the trials of high school: ‘despite crepe-paper pageants; ditto homeroom, ditto stillborn pigs / that we & suburbs’ cruelest sons in eighty-six did grimly // flense, dissect & trim with pins;’ For me, the deepest drive of this book revealed itself in the fantastic ‘Leviathan.’ Read that poem and weep, and laugh, and, as with so many of the poems here, encounter Beeder as a medium, bringing words and phrasing back to us we thought long gone. This book is a verbal treasure-house wizarding through time.”
“Amy Beeder’s poems are willfully baroque in their concatenations, committed to a sensuality of language that might, in other hands, smother its charms. But Beeder’s touch remains so witty, so light, that even the densest language vaults clean over the phenomena it purports to describe. Reading Beeder is like taking an ornate, perhaps even gilded, chartered gondola to a mysterious island only to discover that Ashbery arrived there decades ago and has already opened both a research institute and a lawn-and-garden boutique.”
“This book is a linguistic achievement, kinetically rigorous and hypnotic. From shudder to pleasure, we follow Beeder’s electrified romp through impertinent history, traveling underworld and round the world. A book of all sorts of histories, science, ciphers and techniques. Read these percussive poems aloud: the swaddled diction rolling, tripping, stuttering out of you. ‘The end comes…so quick your snare of nerves will never sense it.’”
“The historical and fantastical mingle in gleeful harmony in the richly imagined third collection from Beeder.” —Publishers Weekly