by Karla Linn Merrifield
Psyche’s Scroll is a post-postmodern epic poem that pushes at the frontiers of what is possible and invites you to participate in a woman’s psychosocial self-analysis as she struggles to move through and beyond psychological trauma. Become a voyeur of the mind in this book of sometimes bawdy, ballsy language, as well as sharp insights into human behavior. Psyche’s Scroll is myth making; it’s a love story with a geeky streak. It’s also a schizophrenic story: half raw emotion, half coolly cerebral—a story which American master poet William Heyen referred to as “sui generis.”
About the Author
Karla Linn Merrifield, a nine-time Pushcart-Prize nominee and National Park Artist-in-Residence, has had 600+ poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies. With Psyche’s Scroll, she has thirteen books to her credit. Her previous book, Bunchberries, More Poems of Canada, is a sequel to Godwit: Poems of Canada (FootHills), which received the Eiseman Award for Poetry. She is assistant editor and poetry book reviewer for The Centrifugal Eye. She is currently at work on several manuscripts, including an over-the-top confessional poetry satire; a collection of elegies for her belated, beloved husband; and the diary of Gizmo Girl whom readers first meet in Psyche’s Scroll.
What They’re Saying…
In Psyche’s Scroll, Karla Linn Merrifield reveals a timely and deeply felt extended poem about the un-scrolling of the soul in all of its forms—id, ego, and super-ego. Through the poet’s brilliant use of persona, mythology, symbolism, and allusion, the human psyche comes to life as Psyche immortal. Here are found libido and chastity, dream state and reality, gratification and conscience—all metaphorically moving between the outer life and the search for an inner life of creativity. As Merrifield writes, “The brio of the mind is its will to bliss; the élan of the brain when pleasured/is poetry.”
~Andrea L. Watson,
Collecting Life: Poets on Objects Known and Imagined;
co-founder, 3: A Taos Press
I can only begin to suggest to you or to know for myself what-all is going on here in Karla Merrifield’s Psyche’s Scroll (“Complexity the Beautiful,” she says)—I sense a life-or-death effort (a constant sense of urgency/necessity here) for Wholeness (“Psyche entire”), for integration of being, of myth & reality, of the rational & the wild, of the primal & the digital, of the cave & of the shopping mall, of Time & Space. With each reading of this inspired scroll, we’ll come closer to it as an ouroboros-like serpent-dragon creature that eats & completes itself, & us, as it enlightens us. But what I want especially to remark on here is that Merrifield alerts us early, warns us, that the scroll will be wielding words. I respect this concept, its threat & efficacy. Hers will be “switchblade syllables,” “brass-knuckle etymologies,” there will be “feces in her skanky pink hair,” we will be “opening [a] papyrus scroll / inked in blood with swan quill.” Her mission: by way of “ferocity of syllables” to stir “moon shadows to slay false gods.” As Psyche slays false gods, her force may even sometimes seem sinister. But all is not dour & threatening: “Surely kickass shit and liberation shall amuse me all the lines of my life”…. We witness here sacral intelligence within a revelatory construct, & we’re grateful to keep this strong poet’s wieldings company.
~William Heyen, National Book Award Finalist;
author of The Candle: Poems of Our 20th Century Holocausts
Psyche’s Scroll takes an experimental approach—in both language and structure—to that most obscure of subjects: the true self. In exchanges reminiscent of John Berryman’s Dream Songs, poet Karla Linn Merrifield examines the fractures which paradoxically lead to a more integrated whole. This is not the conventional approach to suffering and healing, but rather a poetic one, where a trickster may appear in a ’65 Corvette convertible and take us all along for the ride.
author of GEOGRAPHIC: A Memoir of Time and Space
Psyche’s Scroll is a tour de force of one woman’s tortured gestation, growth, survival, and ultimate triumph as a poet who ascends from a body and mind in bondage to a wandering, thirsting, protesting poetic spirit, to a soul with sight, and finally to a poet practiced in the powerful yet delicate salvation of words. Psyche’s Scroll is an evolution out of the darkness of abuse and exploitation into another landscape where through deep questioning and redefinition, the poet declares and names her true self through the making of poems. Merrifield has produced here her “body of proof”—a lustrous map for all women and all men to follow into the light where we too can finally discover the courage to declare ourselves who we truly are.
~Mike Burwell, author of Cartography of Water;
co-editor of the literary journal Cirque
Psyche’s Scroll is as audacious and original work of poetry I have ever read. It blew my mind! Like an explorer through a dark cave, guided only by the light of Karla Linn’s clever and koan-like writing, I had to ask myself at every turn of the page, “Where am I going?” The destination is as revelatory of the human soul as the cave paintings at Lascaux.
~Vuong Quoc Vu, editor of Tourane Poetry Press