The Mistress, Cathy Strisik’s remarkable second collection of poems, is an aching, ardent outcry responding to “The Mistress,” her husband’s Parkinson’s. Cutting into the body of pain and grief, with exact sensual laser-light honesty, these poems marry Christos–Greek archetype, the poet’s Greek roots, with the intimate physicality of daily sacred life. The Mistress’ images, piercing and fresh, arise from the body, guts, heart, sex—the poet’s “thicket heart” creating “its language of conifer channeled veins/oh my sea-thrashed wings oh my body/oh the lamb on a spit on a holiday with missing ancestors.” Jagged and lyric, brave, modern, mythic, Strisik’s poetry beholds; feels a world at all times intimate—a “sublumen,” moving, phenomenological. Voicing by, and into, “the exactness of flesh,” Strisik is that rarer poet, the grounded mystic, she who writes through and about love, loss, in the spirit-moment of flesh, “suffering beauty,” discovering “in tongues there is terrible light” in the illuminated body of ironia, paradox, eros.
— ’Annah Sobelman, author of In the Bee Latitudes
“Grief swells inside silks,” Strisik writes in her latest collection of poems The Mistress. Indeed, eroticism mingles with deception, tenderness is interrupted by violence, & physical pleasure dissolves into the slow deterioration of the mind brought on by disease, among the other sources. Strisik’s lines—in turns taut, frenetic, & fragmented—surprise over & over, revealing the myriad fissures of language & lives rocked by seduction, equally alluring & toxic. These are daring, & successful because of their daring, poems.
-Alexander Long, author of Still Life
Eros and Pathos infuse this uncommonly unified collection—a coherent, albeit polysemic, verse narrative—with a linguistic power that educes as much erotic energy and spiritual passion as it presents. Catherine Strisik trusts the profoundly suggestive reach of the poetic—the ongoing reach of the parabolic word—to address the body’s decline and in so doing articulates a vision of the spirit’s recovery.
-Scott Cairns, author of Slow Pilgrim: The Collected Poems
Published by 3: A Taos Press, an independent publisher committed to fostering and honoring the work of writers of all cultures.