My Chapbook “Swallow” Reviewed at The Pedestal Magazine

The new issue of The Pedestal Magazine, a bimonthly online journal of poetry, literary prose, book reviews, and visual art, includes a wonderful review of my poetry chapbook Swallow by JoSelle Vanderhooft. It’s a treat to be read by someone who gets my work and appreciates its connections to other genres, including humor and horror. From the review:

The first thing that strikes the reader about Jendi Reiter’s Swallow is, naturally, the unusual cover illustration, which appears at once to be a multi-eyed cherub (the proper Old Testament kind), a brace of clothespins, a flock of nightmare birds, sewing needles, bent nails, and a heart-shaped crown of thorns. While one may have a difficult time explaining all of this, one need only know that this image by Richard C. Jackson is the best visual realization of the horror, madness, blood, and beauty that infuse Reiter’s work: Like something out of a fever dream, it just makes perfect sense.

In reading Swallow, I was struck by how much Reiter’s work appears to have been informed by the conventions of horror poetry. Namely, both frequently concern themselves with the strangeness and gradual decay of the body, altered states of mind, and grotesquery. The first of these themes appears prominently in “Body I” (here reproduced in full), which I consider to be one of the chapbook’s finest poems. Here Reiter makes a subtle and powerful statement about the baseness of life and the commonality of death that would seem cliché in the hands of a lesser poet. Yet Reiter’s conversational tone and her suggestive use of repetition and imagery make this poem truly sing.

Read the whole article here (I’m the fourth of four books reviewed). Sign up for The Pedestal Magazine’s free email newsletter to be notified of new issues. Donors to their fund drive can receive free copies of editor John Amen’s gorgeously apocalyptic poetry books, or other books or CDs by staff members.

For your reading pleasure, here’s a poem from Swallow:

Body I

Here’s the thing about a body:
There’s no one inside.
Here’s the body the body was born in:
In the ground.
Here’s the body that went into the body:
A small sword, withdrawn.
Here’s the thing that came out of the body:
The sane bury it.
Here’s the thing that came out of the body:
The mad write with it.
Here’s the thing that covered the body:
Keep washing till it smells like nobody.
Here’s the thing the body needed:
Take it away boys take it away.
Here’s the way it entered the body:
Enough holes to breathe.
Here’s the thing that holds the body:
Pinewood planks for a final ship.
What holds the body becomes the body:
All hands meet underground.

2 comments on “My Chapbook “Swallow” Reviewed at The Pedestal Magazine

  1. mb22Helen says:

    People that are willing to get high grades look for a professional essay writing service to buy their analytical essay from. These actions I do as well.

  2. Congrats on your review Jendi. You’re right, it’s wonderful when someone really “gets” you. It’s rare too as many poetry reviews seem more interested in being interesting than in really serving the poet. I loved Body I!


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