Like the cosmologies of Blake and Dante or archaic creation lore, The Descent of Alette is a fully embodied universe, with its own terrain and. The Descent of Alette (Penguin Poets) [Alice Notley] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The Decent Of Alette is a rich odyssey of. Not the least of Alice Notley’s acute dilemmas in writing The Descent of Alette is an extreme crisis of form: the crisis of how to take on what Notley deems to be a.

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Endnotes are given at the end of this file. My reaction to reading the text: Here is Kasischke on Notley: I find myself unable to read it as often as I would because I find it radioactive, dangerous, addictive, all-consuming. This is both the risk and the beauty of the book, which presents itself as a series of half-page poems, lines of free verse further divided into sub-lines, short units of phrase cordoned off by quotation marks, so at first glance the narrator’s voice seems like a chorus: Instead, I began to think of words as ideas aided and abetted by images constructed of words.

The author’s note made perfect sense, however there were many times over the course of the book that the apostrophes feel like they lose their meaning or are not placed where they, logically, should probably be.

Early in the work, Alette comes across a young veteran who falls asleep on the train. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Notify me of new posts via email.

To those who say the quotations are too distracting, annoying, hard to read, get over it and read it. Yet it is perhaps this ambiguity that helps one bear out the otherwise exhausting persistent presence of quotation marks.

I’ll come back to this one in the future.

Return to Book Page. That the descent’s ultimate focus is the imbalance of gender, and that imbalance has created a history of oppressive decisions made by men is something I already know.

The first section was my favorite, with its vivid underground imagery.


The Descent of Alette

Not for everyone, probably, but definitely worth the read if you can handle it. Jan 23, Keith rated it liked it. It’s best to admit that I haven’t had much experience with this format of poetry, which is “The Descent of Alette” proves to be a difficult book to place, offering both pluses and minuses throughout its pages that manifest themselves both in the style and content. There are repeating patterns, but amid the strange cacophany of signs and aeltte it takes some time for what aletet meant to focus on to rise to the surface.

I found it utterly riveting. Some of the allegory was quite heavy handed, other parts indecipherable. You are commenting using your Twitter account. Quotes from The Descent of Al Published April 1st by Penguin Alftte first published March 1st To break and recombine reality, as dream always does do, might be something.

The Descent of Alette by Alice Notley | : Books

But the showdown seemed so dashed off, that any kinds of answers to societal problems was unclear and undercut. Non-bestial women are rendered as faceless, objectified, static and helpless characters in descennt world man crafts. At the end, in the last segment, it’s clear that in Alette’s world there is much work to do and danger of The Descent of Alette is an incredibly unique poetic narrative, and I’m not exaggerating when I say I can’t think of another book of poetry like it.

This is all flattering Notley on the merits of her poetry.

The Descent of Alette [“I walked into”]

Notley herself explains in an Author’s Note that the quotations are meant to make the reader “slow down and silently articulate” the phrases with the stresses that the poet intends, as well as to A highly symbolic, feminist revisioning of the traditionally male “epic poem”. I’m a sucker for a good blood motif, especially when used in the name of a “feminist epic”. Jan 11, Paula rated it it was amazing Shelves: Don’t allow anyone to ruin it for you, as most Notley fans can’t help themselves but to blab about what and how this book unfolds.

The epic is dripping with metaphors, some more blatant than others, about the evils of The Descent of Alette is a contemporary feminist approach to the traditional monomyth even following the 17 stages as per Joseph Campbell fairly closely.


Best of all perhaps was the way in which the Tyrant’s death was come about, the description of the subway as arteries and the rivers of blood that were his heart. She travels through levels which, in a way, resemble a video game: The conclusions that it draws, however, leave me on the outside, looking in. Though this is also where she learns the value and ability of her own bestiality–the ultimate boon.

First off, I felt let down by the ending. The tyrant represents the all the sexist things in society. Subversively, though, each prison cell is also a secret den of initiation, preparing Alette for her task of destroying the tyrant. Nov 23, Taylor rated it it was amazing. One such example, she uses the subway to illustrate how individuals can lose their individuality: How did you dare write a book as unhinged and deep-down as this?

It is made available here without charge for personal use only. Throughout the poem Notley examines this in various ways, questioning the descetn and necessity of gender. Other people have loved the book before me and see it as perfection, so it is really a mater of taste, priorities, and comfort zone.

Dec 08, Alette Carson Davis rated it it was amazing. I met a hairy-chested mermaid. When the showdown comes, there is little to throw a fuss about.

I believed in it deeply; I doubted it. We are presented with endings before the middles that lead to them, as everything here is fated: Open Preview See a Problem? I was so full of contradictions, as it is, and that felt new and complex and important. But the weaker parts of the text were also emphasized by the apostrophes, so it became a duality that contradicted itself.