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After the Witch Hunt

120 pages
Perfect-bound trade paperback
Also available in eBook formats
ISBN 978-1935904625
First Edition
Write Bloody Books
Austin, Texas
Available HERE
Review by Cetoria Tomberlin

In her debut poetry collection, Megan Falley delivers a large helping of dark humor laced with honesty and, somewhere along the way, love. The collection, After the Witch Hunt, drips with barbs and blood. She makes no bones about calling out past abusers, exes, and patriarchy. No one is safe, least of all the writer herself.

Falley is a seasoned slam poetry competitor, but her poems do not read as long-winded and do not depend on vocalization to carry weight. Her confidence and strength pour from the pages. Her black humor in inescapable throughout the collection. She has perfected the art of laughing when you really want to cry.

The subject matter of Falley’s poems are the things you’d expect a young woman to be concerned about: life, love, loneliness, reality TV, sex, more sex, good sex, but above all: words. The speaker or main character of the poems is, more often than not, a writer, a good one, who offers up tidbits of her herself and allows you to arrange the puzzle pieces however you see fit:

Find a gravestone of someone who shares her name and take her to it. When her door is plastered with an eviction notice, do not offer your home. Say, I Love You, then call her the wrong name. If you really love a writer, bury her in all your awful and watch as she scrawls her way out.
(from “If You Really Love a Writer,” p. 17)

But, Falley doesn’t alienate her non-female reader, either. Her feminist theory thankfully doesn’t involve hating men. Instead, some poems express her explicit love of them, while others express her explicit hate for certain kinds of people, in general (i.e. cheaters), whether male or female:

Best enjoyed without utensil, just claw and gorge.

Prep: As long as it takes.
Cook: Until it does not burn.
Serves: Him. Right.
(from “Adam’s Apple Pie,” p. 25)

The collection is both startling, for its honesty, and haunting, for its honesty. Falley tackles not only abuse and redemption, but also the complicated love of family. She ends the collection with a poignant piece entitled, “God Talks Back,” where the speaker, God, finally gives Megan some feedback, but closes with an explanation about interpretations that you can apply to prayers or poems, or life:

Do you remember The Game of Telephone?
How a chain of girls would pass around one whisper
and by the time it returned to you, your secret was no longer
your own? That’s what working with messengers and missionaries
is like. Even now, this letter will arrive to you in all the wrong
dialects, its words sifted, but it’s okay because I know you
heard me. […]
(p. 81)

Cetoria Tomberlin is a Staff Book Reviewer and a poet and fiction writer who lives in Northwest Georgia. She received her bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from Berry College. Her work has previously appeared in Fairy Tale Review, NonBinary Review, Southern Women’s Review, The Battered Suitcase, Spires, and online at LADYGUNN and HelloGiggles. She is also a book reviewer for Mixed Diversity Reads.
• This book review was submitted to Alternating Current in its entirety from the reviewer. Alternating Current did not receive a copy of this book, but the reviewer does not know the author or the publisher to the best of our knowledge. • Permalink • Tag: The Volt •

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