Last Sext

Last Sext - Melissa Broder

This collection will speak to a lot of people. Unfortunately I was not one of them. On the surface this collection has a lot going for it that appeals to me: the tension between the sacred and the profane, existential dread, exploration of the ephemeral and mortality, diving into gender and sexuality, etcetera. However, the collection as a whole fell flat for me.


Broder uses a great deal of repetition in her poems, which can be fine. That repetition also echoes through the entire collection, which can also be fine if done well. This was not, in my opinion, done well. He language is harsh and sparse, which makes the repetition feel, well, repetitious. I couldn't shake how much it felt like I was reading the same poem over and over again - the same words rejumbled in a different order, like refrigerator poetry. Again, this sort of device could be used to brilliant effect, but in this case it felt like reading endless revisions.


This is an angry, dark, and sexual collection (which I actually enjoy), and there is a lot of meat in here. Most of the poems have at least one brilliant line, they just get swallowed by the work as a whole. The abstract is favored over the concrete, and symbolism rules out over the sensory. For me it felt more like a work of the mind than the heart, despite the sense of immediacy and passion. While I didn't connect to this collection at all I can see how many people will. I just happen to prefer my poetry a bit more grounded in the specific, and more lyrical. I would try Broder again, but in smaller doses.


Personal highlights:
Lunar Shatters
Wide Sigh
Long Tomb