By Sonia Di Placido
Reviewed by Jorge Antonio Vallejos
Chapbooks are usually put together in low budget fashion by poets who are broke. Ten to twelve pages are stapled together with several poems found in between the covers. The poet usually gives thanks to people, lists their contact info, and then come the poems.
Some poets get really fancy by putting in personal touches like painting designs and adding photos and sewing the pages together. Some make a very small number of chapbooks for their fans—limited editions. Many just slap paper together and get them out to the public at readings and book fairs.
Vulva Magic: A Selection of Poems by Sonia Di Placido is a hard cover, registered chapbook, that has beautiful pages accompanying the beautiful picture on the cover. Red cloth envelopes the book’s spine while pictures of the author sitting naked grace the front. Put together by Lyricalmyrical, Vulva Magic catches your eye fast.
The chapbooks first poem is the title poem: Vulva Magic. Di Placido writes of female scribes who challenge the system. Vulva Magic is that verse that questions the norm, that stands in patriarchy’s face and doesn’t back down. Using word play and not mentioning words that you know are being hinted at, Vulva Magic is “a feline frenzy of feminine fairytales.”
Di Placido can get erotic, “her fantasy dripping”, and she shows her strength:
“She has vulva magic in her hand
She’s got something sacred
within that vile gruesome grip.”
In Argentine Aria for Evita and hot air Di Placido writes of dirty Argentine politics and a heroine that is only popular in the south. The poet exposes a government murder turned into a smokescreen by the murderers themselves. Di Placido yells “Nunca Mas” alongside Argentine protestors and tells of the “body snatchers” who stole much more than Evita Peron’s life. “The days are high on poverty and thin air” writes Di Placdio. Talking of 1979, not much has changed.
In hallowed Eve Di Plaicdo chews up Adam like the apple he ate. Like a fighter looking to land the first shot, Di Placido strikes hard in her fist line: “Knock your knees Adam”. The verbal lashing continues throughout. Calling man on their blaming of women, “I told you it was forbidden and you chewed it”, writes Di Placido. The assault continues:
“Now you cannot forgive me forgive me
for giving you knowledge
offering the greatest test
knock your knees young boy
Vulva Magic is split in to three sections:
1) Existential Queens
2) The Eros Poems
3) New Age Romp
There are poems dedicated to heroines of our recent past, local poets like Pier Giorgio Di Cicco, and poems that stab at Western patriarchy and its foundation: the Bible.
Chapbooks don’t have many poems so there is little room for the poet to make an impression on the reader. Vulva Magic hits hard; it’s a slap with a safe-word; all pleasure for the reader who receives the hit.
Tune in to Black Coffee Poet Wednesday March 23, 2011 for an inclusive interview with Sonia Di Placdio.