Publication Date: September 2013
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The second collection by Nicelle Davis, Becoming Judas, is an “elemental bible-diary-manifesto,” that weaves together Mormonism, Mamaism, Manson, Lennon, Kabbalah, and the lost Gospel of Judas into am ecstatic, searing meditation on raw religion. Nicelle Davis is a poet with an eye towards the spiritual. Loosely based on Davis’s upbringing in the back-room of a record store in Mormonville, Utah, this unexpected fusion becomes a “spontaneous combustion” of matter turning into energy. In these poems we encounter Jesus, Judas, YouTube, Joseph Smith, Hollywood, the Knights of Templar, Missouri, Utah, a prostitute, turnips, libraries, and God. Spirituality and faith eventually become, like Mallarme’s “Dice Thrown,” a game of chance: “I know only chance. My feet will / won’t hit ground.” Instead of choosing a faith based in the material world, which becomes a roll of the dice, Davis embraces the non-material of a pure energy: Let there be light.
Praise for Becoming Judas:
“Nicelle Davis weaves–as one of her religio-sacred-cosmos ‘spiders’ pokes–the elemental, mother-daughter, Judas-Jesus-Lennon substances, meta-histories and neo-gospels devouring us as we disintegrate and are reborn to love this grand body-bible-book.
Hold this, if you can–devouring mind at work, singing razor-writer of stanza-line fractal syncopations into photo, interview, letter incantations; as Anne Waldman has said of her poetic conduction, ‘a new-beyond-gender fecund horizon.’ A new elemental bible-diary-manifesto, yes, and also a musical score of the spider-woman who writes in prayer ‘octaves.’ You hear voices–angels, demons, Azrael and Manson, Jesus and Judas, daughter and granddaughter–masks, sheafs, harmonies, and dissonances that few can hear, decipher, or re-magnetize through the ethers and ‘star compounds’ once our skins are stripped and hanging from the ancient suffering trees. Wait: there is Doo Wop down the highway as we careen with Nicelle’s genius magic in this grand, magnificent, luminous creation-braided-fleshspirit word book. You have to caress and then let all unravel. A cosmic whip. A mesmerizing opus, prize-winner, yes, all the way.”
–Juan Felipe Herrera
New Pages: Becoming Judas Full of Spirit
Poetry Northwest Asks You to Put Your Trust in Nicelle Davis
Pedestal Magazine Reviews Nicelle Davis’ Becoming Judas
Nicelle Davis’ Becoming Judas Lauded by the Ampersand Review
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Glint Literary Journal reviews Becoming Judas