Lighting the Shadow: A Review by Jeff Lennon at The Rumpus by Rachel Griffiths

"Griffiths speaks frankly of personal violation and the use of the body for all sorts of raw imagery and metaphor. Bodies are both blessed and oppressive. As much violence is done to them as beauty extracted from them. A series of prose poems in the first section all speak to the desires of women to break free of the bonds that hold them, the violence done to them by men and by society." - Jeff Lennon, The Rumpus

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Lighting the Shadow: Review by Khadijah Queen at MOSAIC by Rachel Griffiths

"Tough with feeling and far from sentimental, Griffiths’ poems use the artist’s eye for detail to suffuse into and extract meaning from emblematic referents to the phoenix, all kinds of birds, flowers and flame, rolling heads, ghosts, always women, and of course Frida Kahlo. The poems often behave as a kind of psychological ekphrasis – a woman in situ with mythology and memory, acted upon by greater forces than simply human." - Khadijah Queen

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Lighting the Shadow reviewed by Wesley Rothman at AMRI by Rachel Griffiths


Poets and artists often build their books or shows around a conceit, turning a book/show into a snapshot of what they were focused on at the time—an exploration; perhaps this is a result of the artist’s desire for, or the perception that viewers want/need, continuity, order, structure. I’ve heard numerous editors and critics argue for a “narrative arc” or “necessary transformation” to take place over the course of a book of poems, and while transformation (and transportation) is unavoidable when reading Rachel Eliza Griffiths’s Lighting the Shadow, and yes, it comes with a loose conceit, this hearty collection does not rely on either and breathes as so much more than a well-constructed book. It is an expansive, adaptable, demanding conversation, one that will last." - Wesley Rothman

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