Poetry: Occult, mental health, possession, mortality, religion, love & sexuality
“Poetry yokes together opposites.”
I first came across KERNPUNKT Press on Instagram and saw that they posted a small piece of The Nameless, Brandi George’s newest poetry collection and memoir in verse. On the post, it read: “Interested in reviewing Brandi George’s The Nameless? Please DM us for a copy!” So, I did. I just had to reach out to KERNPUNKT when I saw that post.
As a fan of Brandi George’s work, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity like this, so long story short, I decided that I wanted to write a book review. Here it is!
The Nameless is part poetry, part story. The story aspect focuses on Thumbelina and the trials that she goes through before she finds paradise (which comes in the form of poetry and her husband, Michael). Brandi uses “Thumbelina” as the face of her story. I believe this is because:
1) Thumbelina is a fictional (yet admirable) character AND
2) By having a character that goes through the same trials the author does, it either makes the main character be the one who goes through these rough patches OR the main character becomes the reason an author feels accompanied. In other words, the main character creates a “sense of belonging” for the author. That way, the author does not feel alone when she goes through these rough patches. That’s what I felt when I read The Nameless.
The primary figure of Death is commonly seen throughout the story (and often appears when Thumbelina suffers throughout a great deal of her life). Brandi’s concept of death is so fascinating to me. Thumbelina “dies” multiple times, but does she actually die? And, if so, how often? What if “death” was symbolic for something else, like a change in form? Was she reincarnated? Did her spirit change in the process? Only the author knows!
A great example of this cry of help for transformation (which can also be seen in other works from Brandi George, such as Faun, for example) can be seen within the first poem, “After We Are Molested, Our Family Tells Us to Forget.”
On page 4, it reads:
Death take this body for Your own
because we want to become something else
the doll thing that we were
porcelain prey virgin petal
pearl baby is dead
because damsel corpse
princess bait is dead
As I reach towards the end of the book, I discover some questions that really speak to me (questions that I wish to answer myself):
why do we want to be a Great Writer?
what’s the point in being a Great Writer?
no really what’s the point?
what’s the point?
what’s the point in being a Great Writer? (p. 174)
The answers are actually quite simple. The point to being a “great writer” is to be able to execute a literary idea and tell a story in the meantime. When it comes to The Nameless, Brandi George did not just come up with a story – she came up with a story within a story. The story that takes place within The Nameless is about her, yet, at the same time, it’s not – it’s also about Thumbelina.
Another thing that makes a writer “great” is by having the writer convey raw emotions into their story. I describe The Nameless to be “grotesquely beautiful.” Does that sound like a contradiction? Maybe; maybe not (it is an oxymoron I created). Now, why would I use those terms to describe The Nameless? This is because Brandi George exposes the deep dark ugliness behind many earthly abominations – rape, abuse, broken and dysfunctional families, divorce, exorcisms, etc. – instead of fabricating these topics with glitter. While most people refrain from talking about them altogether, she screams in rage.
The beauty of The Nameless is life itself. Throughout Part 1 of The Nameless, Brandi George talks about many wondrous things – horses that appear to be like angels (in the eyes of a two-year-old Thumbelina), a moon arachnid that repeats, “All is Illusion,” a rainbow jellyfish named Shalloch, and Sun-Bird & Moon-Bird, the bird with two heads. These creatures remind me of a section from “Poems Burnt in a Trash Pit,” a poem in Brandi George’s first book, Gog.
On page 50 of Gog, the poem reads:
Mother sings me to sleep, and the prisms
above my bed sing with her,
but she sees shadows where I see beauty,
and she would burn me, shave my head and drag me
down Main Street for Jehovah […]
The Nameless showcases that the world, despite its ugliness, can remain beautiful.
Marisa Jade Bunton is a recent graduate from Florida Southwestern State College. She absolutely loves to write and aspires to become an independent self-published author. One thing she loves to do, besides reading and writing, is helping other authors reach success. She is currently working on her first novel. You can connect with her on LinkedIn at @marisajade, where she shares her poems and insightful comments on books. You can also read her testimony on The Heart of Flesh Literary Journal.