We live our lives
The instant between life and death.
To touch death always.
That is the sun.
For those not familiar with the Greek tale, Antigone, is the third part of a trilogy of plays by Sophocles collectively known as the Theban plays, the play begins with two brothers killing each other on the battlefield after leading opposing sides in Thebes' civil war, Creon who takes over as ruler of Thebes, declares that Eteocles will be honoured and that his brother and traitor Polyneices will be publicly shamed - his body left unsanctified and unburied on the battlefield.
Fought order, limits, time.
Time of surrender or death.
To go where no one has been,
The past destroyed by heat.
Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus, is faced with the choice of allowing her brother Polyneices' body to remain unburied, beyond the city walls, for him to become mere carrion or to disobey Creon, bury him and face her own death. Antigone decides to bury his body and face the consequences of her actions. Creon incarcerates her and sentences her to death. Although he does change his mind, his decision comes too late as Antigone commits suicide, this triggers the suicide of two others close to the King: his son, Haemon, who was to wed Antigone, and his wife, Eurydice, who commits suicide after losing her only surviving son.
As stated above, although a knowledge of the tale, allows another level of understanding to these poems, I don't believe that it is entirely necessary - anyone reading them couldn't help but be affected by the imagery these poems conjure up, add to that the charcoal illustrations disquietingly capture the dark foreboding nature of the words and the combination has an elegiac and yet at the same time a beautiful and oppressive quality that uses the idea of lamentation as a force of rage and pain, as though standing up a witness to all the wrongs suffered, knowing that you'll be knocked down, but will stand anyway - because you could not do otherwise, and in this sense the poems transcend any idea of a specific gender role, vociferating against the collective wrongdoing, from wherever it or to whomever it occurs.
Is afraid to speak.
Of the brutal metal
Of its words
Words that scrape
Words that scar
Words that have no peace
If I utter this voice
Its horror will echo forever.
Co-founder of the original Studio Altaire in Montreal, Marie Slaight has worked in Montreal, New Orleans, and Buenos Aires as a writer, producer and performer for film, theatre and music. Her play, Random Shots, was produced at the Theatre Centre in Toronto. She collaborated on a series of short films with Terrence Tasker and was an actor and creative consultant for National Film Board of Canada co-productions.
Her poetry has appeared in American Writing, Pittsburgh Quarterly, Poetry Salzburg, The Abiko Quarterly, New Orleans Review and elsewhere. Other jobs over the years include working in a jewellery factory, as a farm worker, artist model, scene painter, nightclub photographer, and both teaching English and running a bed and breakfast while living in Buenos Aires. Marie Slaight is currently the director of Altaire Productions & Publications, a Sydney-based arts production company, which has been involved in creative consulting and co-producing for independent New Orleans music and such films as the award-winning documentary Bury the Hatchet, Happy Baby Kindred and Anna and Modern Day Slavery.
(1947-1992) was born in Saskatchewan, Canada, the son of a lumberjack. Raised in rural western Canada, he went on to become a self-taught artist and filmmaker. He made a series of short films: Steps, The Abortion, and Echo, which screened in New York and Toronto. In 1981 he co-founded and built the original Studio Altaire, a 90-seat theatre and visual art gallery that also ran after hours jazz concerts and poetry readings in downtown Montreal.
He worked as a set builder for Montreal's Centaur Theatre, Toronto Free Theatre and others and film such as The Resurrected and Deep Sleep, as well as working in construction, mining, finance, industrial installations, taxi driving and as a film projectionist. He created the artwork for The Antigone Poems in the 1970s, while living in Montreal and Toronto. Terrence died in 1992 at age 45.
I received this through Netgalley expecting an E-copy, but was contacted by the publishers who offered me a hard copy which I gratefully accepted & I'm glad I did as this is the best way to experience this work.
Altaire Productions & Publications
Art ~ Terrence Tasker