Publication Date: January 2010
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Elizabeth Hildreth interviews Reb Livingston at Bookslut
Lindsey Lewis Smithson interviews Reb Livingston at The Coachella Review
What People are Saying about God Damsel:
The inhabitants of this sexy, sometimes eyebrow-raising collection of prose poems appear to have been plucked out of ancient fairytales, but their actions, conflicts and desires speak all too clearly about the stories getting spun in the world we live in today.
—Rigoberto González at Critical Mass (the National Book Critics Circle blog)
Like all mothers, God Damsel has eyes in the back of her head and other places as well. This is a woman with power. This is a sexual, strong voice and believe me, you don't want to fuck with her.
—Rebecca Loudon reviews God Damsel at Galatea Resurrects #15
I am enthralled by and in awe of this work– God Damsel is innovative and utterly fearless in its treatment of language, yet completely accessible, and funny as hell. A superb accomplishment.
—Cami Park reviews God Damsel at Mungo
Just because fairy tales don’t exist doesn’t mean we don’t need them—need their promise of a happily ever after—need their heightened, fanciful language to infuse our flat, modern vernacular with pomp and poof and oompf—but need especially their infusion of momentous meaning into our seemingly pointless actions and humdrum adult lives. Through that hole of need enters Reb Livingston’s stunning God Damsel: a pyrotechnic, syntactical orgy wherein the speaker’s both creator and victim of a world that mirrors our own in disappointment and loss. She’s a creator of her own language, yet a victim of the limitations of all language. The poems are like the bizarre, hybrid-mutant animals slithering around the island of Dr. Moreau—cross-breeds of humor, whimsy, sharp intelligence, and deep—near unspeakable—sadness. I can hear Henry Darger’s Vivian Girls eerily reciting from God Damsel, like a primer, in unison. Do avoid the dreaded Woe-Dodo, and take a stroll through the puffy pink clouds (careful to avoid the inky-icky black pits) of God Damsel-land.
—Jennifer L. Knox
Reb Livingston (hymnographer, crier of laments, wry chronicler of blockages, seepages and Thingamabobs) combs the spiritual runes, tunes and ruined stockings that remain after traffic between the sexes. God Damsel is a fractured, fractious and funny allegory which just might get biblical on your ass. Check it out.
Lament for Fronting
O Damsel, how is your torso . . .? How you tiptoe! O maiden, how is your torso . . .? How your slip shows! O accomplished woman whose benefit now annulled, how do you abide? O nymphet whose downgrade unnerves your higher priestess, how is your torso. . . ? After your benefit annulled, now how do you abide? After your indulgence, your warmth and interest, how is your torso. . . ? Your tabernacle unworshipped, now how do you abide? Your altar turned to syrup, how is your torso . . . ? You are not the prized tulip in a field reduced to turnip rounds. You cannot wakeup beloved in a meadow reeking fish. You cannot pose as impune to those who sowed before you.