Salt Is For Curing is the debut of writer Sonya Vatomsky. This book of poetry is structured as an elaborate meal, set in preparation of the worlds grimmest dinner party. It is layered with metaphor and brutality, even the cover hints at the dark ritual you are about to observe, and unbeknownst to you, partake in.
They say only poets read poetry, but I would be remiss if I didn't recommend this to readers everywhere. The ability to provoke thought and prompt introspection and revelation is not easy. Neither is exposing the deepest fears and desires of complete strangers. Sonya manages to do just that.
Admittedly I have not read poetry in a very long time, and now I am regretful. The beautiful complexity, raw passion, and bleak lens through which we are gifted perspective, opened my mind and heart to the world of poetry again. This is a book with which I will not have just a simple fling; rather I'll be pouring over these words for a while to come. My passion for this art form has been reignited.
The structure of each poem is nearly as important as the words themselves, some evoking manic urgency, others military-like precision, still others, naked fear. I found this book to be a work of brilliance, not for the weak of heart or closed of mind, but those seeking adventure, sorrow, and uncertainty. This collection is refreshingly honest. After a lifetime wandering a world full of masks, watching someone lay themselves bare, as nerves splayed out upon a table of wet opened flesh, brings a kind of comfort and kinship I've not experienced with a complete stranger before.
Nothing I can write would do justice to the incredible imagery and power invoked by this book. To illustrate that point, I've included one of the poems from the book that really spoke to me. You can order the eBook here, it's $5 or name your own price, though the worth of this book is far beyond $5 in my humble opinion.
Threnody in three courses
The guests are clockwise around the table:
mother, father, all three brothers, a witch, her lover,
multiple fat housecats and then me, arriving late.
Black wool soaked to the bone and hair slick against
my forehead like lines in sand from the receding tide.
Whenever we toast a death I raise my glass expectantly;
the housecats have better manners, and they know how
to be loved like I don’t. It’s better when the sun sinks down,
smoke snaking through my room like a priest’s incense as
I tend to plants, to fingernails, keeping everything constrained
in a corset laced by ritual and pulled taut with the gravity
of tradition, moving me soft across the board like a footless
ghost. Forward, forward, wait. I could never play chess;
I can only defend. Fortify walls and spill salt on the perimeter.
Expect the worst and then what? It knocks three times or
creeps in through the window like a secret lover, lips to your
brow. Roll the demon over and sit on his chest till the breath
sputters out - a priest's incense finding God in the
ceiling cracks. The moon is a dish of cream in the ink-black
sky I dye my clothes with and the guests sit clockwise around
the table. When I toast this death I clink my glass and no
I arrived late. You will not arrive at all.
(Poem included with permission by Sator Press)