Christopher Brennan: "The Shadow of Lilith"

III. The Shadow of Lilith
Poems (1913)
stack level too deep
By Victoria Innell on November 2012

Arguably one of Brennan's most complex and telling sequences from his livre composé, "Poems [1913]", the 'Lilith' poems provoke the poetic 'climax' of the text. Lilith is a figure who conjures many mytho-historical references. She was the first wife of Adam in the Jewish tradition and later became a symbol of female independence for First Wave Feminists. Throughout "Poems [1913]", however, Lilith is predominantly harnessed as a symbol of the tortured poetic subconscious. Like the poet's own fears of cultural insignificance, failure and mediocrity, Lilith lurks and seethes, pointing towards an anxiety embedded within Brennan's poetry that encompasses not only the self, but language, gender, poetics and the nation.