The Antigone Poems

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by Marie Slaight and illustrated by Terrence Tasker

Overall: A short and sweet, yet very vivid interpretation of a classic. 

I received this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review. 

I will be the first to admit that Sophocles’ Antigone is one of the plays that I have forgotten a lot about, but I do remember the praise of Antigone by my English teacher in high school, praising her rebellion, and the message of suffering in the living world only to receive salvation in the afterlife. While not as dramatic or as darkly humorous as Opedipus Rex, you are given a very powerful story in this tragedy.

I disagree with some of the reviews that I have read that Marie Slaight creates a modern retelling of the aforementioned play. I do not believe that these poems will be understood as someone telling the classic with a modern twist, which is a little misleading depending on how you read some of the descriptions and reviews of this book. However, this is still an excellent book, you will be brought into the symbolism and imagery of Antigone’s heroic yet terrible narrative. These poems were written in the 1970’s, attached with charcoal sketches of the same time period when the author and illustrator were in Montreal and Toronto.

However, don’t think that you wouldn’t enjoy the book just because you know nothing of Antigone. These poems are beautiful and brilliant as stand alone poems. I was surprised how fast I ate up these poems, and they were very quick to read. I believe I finished this book for my second time around just on the bus back to my apartment. You will be amazed at the morbid yet impeccably intricate details, subtle rhyme, and alliteration that is littered through every poem in this small collection.

The only issue have with this book might just be a little picky. As I’ve said before that this book is short, something you can eat up time and time again in little time. With that said, I have to say that it’s a bit overpriced. From the Antigone Poems website, it is about 25 dollars. I got the entire Divine Comedy in paperback with that much. There are some Amazon sellers who are selling the book for about sixteen dollars. It’s a little more reasonable, as the book is about a hundred pages (even though it felt a lot shorter on my Kindle) and it makes me curious about the formatting of the hard copy.

The charcoals are GORGEOUS. They are definitely a huge plus for the book, you get a couple littered in between the poems and a lot of beautiful charcoal sketches at the end of the book. I can admit that it might be a reason for the high price.

In the end, this book is definitely something to pick up and read. I recommend you shop around for a good price, or just go ahead and buy it nice and new! I saw some pictures of the physical cover and I admit it is beau-ti-ful!

You can buy the book HERE!