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Like the cosmologies of Blake and Dante or archaic creation lore, The Descent of Alette is a fully embodied universe, with its own terrain and. The Descent of Alette (Penguin Poets) [Alice Notley] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The Decent Of Alette is a rich odyssey of. Not the least of Alice Notley’s acute dilemmas in writing The Descent of Alette is an extreme crisis of form: the crisis of how to take on what Notley deems to be a.

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But the showdown seemed so dashed off, that any kinds of answers to societal problems was unclear and undercut. Notley employs striking imagery and a language that absorbs the reader. I spent my reading sleuthing what that moral might be and whether or not I could get behind it.

So ubiquitous is gender that it is a great task for one to have a sense of self beyond it. The conclusions that it draws, however, leave me on the outside, looking in.

Dec 08, Jesica Carson Davis rated it it was amazing. I’ll come back to this one in the future.

As much as I agree with natural harmony and the concept of the female entity, I feel this book went slightly overboard with this, especially when our narrator Alette was so poorly characterized and established while the evil-ness of the tyrant was almost drilled into the reader’s mind.

Instead, I began to think of words as ideas aided and abetted by images constructed of words. Notley herself explains in an Author’s Note that the quotations are meant to make the reader “slow down and silently articulate” the phrases with the stresses that the poet intends, as well as to remind the reader that each phrase is “a thing said by a voice For metaphor junkies, it can provide hours of stimulating and thought provoking analysis.

Alette’s journey is rich, fulfilling, intoxicating. Non-bestial women are rendered as faceless, objectified, static and helpless characters in the world man crafts.

Click on the note to be taken to it; likewise to return to the text. Valerie on Jennifer Lawrence and Frank O…. Jul 27, Cheryl rated it it was amazing. I also fear that this underworld has a womyn-born-womyn only policy that I would strictly oppose. Again, I understand this was the author’s intent, but for me this wasn’t something I was too keen on.


Lists with This Book. All right, this is demanding, but for me this book clarified Notley’s recurring image of the owl found in many of her poems yeah, motiff. I have all these maps now, see.

The Descent of Alette by Alice Notley

It’s best to admit that I haven’t had much experience with this format of poetry, which is most likely why I didn’t particularly enjoy it. She uses quotation marks in every line of every page to establish a specific rhythm in the reader’s mind. In an interview, Notley explicitly states that one of her primary goals in writing an epic is to take the form away from men. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use.

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Then, when it came out od book form, I saw the confusing use of quotation marks in the text, and aeltte to re-think how to read it. I loved the intensity of the words, the feeling that I was on the same crowded subway with all the people, or seeing the gruesomeness of the headless first mother. Notify me of new comments via email.

To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: The epic is dripping with metaphors, some more alettte than others, about the evils of patriarchy and the sin man has committed to nature represented by a headless woman. This is both the risk and the beauty of the book, which presents itself as a series of half-page poems, lines of free verse further divided into sub-lines, short units of phrase cordoned off by quotation marks, so at first glance the descennt voice seems like a chorus: Though this is also where she learns the value and ability descenf her own bestiality–the ultimate boon.

Some of the allegory was qui Read at the suggestion of a dear writer friend. I consider the show Lost, which was massive in scope and characters that any ending despite its uninspired finish would feel anticlimactic. Early in the work, Alette comes across a young veteran who falls asleep on the train. When the showdown comes, there is little to throw a fuss about.


The tyrant represents the all the sexist things in society. Alice Notley creates new archetypes, and gives new jobs to old ones.

‘I see’ ‘with my voice’:

Nov 15, Leslie added it. The epic is dripping with metaphors, some more blatant than others, about the evils of The Descent of Alette is a contemporary feminist approach to the traditional monomyth even following the 17 stages as per Joseph Campbell fairly closely.

Notley’s narrative is a mythic epic, following as many reviewers have noted Joseph Campbell’s heroic journey. In this is raised the question of why the descen metering is necessary aldtte but one might ask the same of why it’s told as poetry, why it’s not a play, why the interconnected scenes wouldn’t be better suited as a series of paintings. The story itself was straightforward, even a little hard to get into at the beginning. All threads lead to her inevitable showdown.

Throughout the poem Notley examines this in various ways, questioning the pervasiveness and necessity of gender. First off, I felt let down by the ending. Or if the character herself should be taken seriously in a realistic sense. According to archaeological record, the snake was a common symbol in the ancient Near East among numerous agricultural communities who were matriarchal and worshipped female deities.

In the subway we see the power dynamic between the men and women of everyday reality. Anytime these figures surfaced I knew a Big Moral was around the bend; I felt forced into catechism.

I was so full of contradictions, as it is, and that felt new and complex and important. You are commenting using your WordPress. Here is Kasischke on Notley:. The author’s note made perfect sense, aleyte there were many times over the course of the book that the apostrophes feel like they lose their meaning or are not placed where they, logically, should probably be.