Monica recommends! The capricious world of relationships is something everyone has navigated, often wishing for a magic spell to release them from its hold. In The Spellbook of Fruit and Flowers, Christine Butterworth-McDermott delves into these dark partnerings, using the symbolism of the natural world, particularly plants and their taxonomy, as metaphor. With references to myth and legend, science and history, these poems trace the dangers that arise from seduction, betrayal, and the need to find “pulp over pit.” Here, snakes slither, pomegranates are bitten, and forests burn. Yet, there is also a determination to embrace the “resilience of flesh and spirit.” Tethered birds are freed, dahlias mean "to survive," and restorative limes are offered. While never shying away from trauma, and its effects, Butterworth-McDermott always encourages the reader to “blink at the new leaf, the green wood /visible beneath the bark of the vine.” While the world may be full of poison, the poems here are a salve.
By Christine Butterworth McDermott. Paperback. 128 pages. Published by Fomite Press, 2023.