by Gayle Brandeis
Is Many Restless Concerns a conceptual literary work? Collection of threaded persona poems? Historical-fiction-in-verse? Narrative poem? All these definitions are accurate, & none capture completely what Many Restless Concerns “is.”
And for me, that’s where the real dark magic of it lies: once I released the need to understand what it is or how it worked, I could tap into the unknown & hear the chorus of their voices.
Many Restless Concerns innovates the traditional format of a Greek chorus to give back bodies to the faceless, nameless, de-humanized collective of victims of The Blood Countess.
I’ve truly never read anything like it. In some places, it’s restrained in its depiction of such horrible beauty, & in other places goes over the top, screaming silently on the page, but screaming, for release, for remembrance.
I recommend reading it in one sitting. It is not for the faint of heart, not because it indulges in the gory details, but because of exactly the opposite. It focuses on showing you the softness & small pleasure of skin, so you will better understand the horror of the word SCALD, STAB. Spends gentle time teaching you to love every detail of a throat, so you will feel your lungs seize up at the word STRANGLE.
Many Restless Concerns is more than something literary, there is some part of the collective unconscious at work here, so go into it with strength & have a care plan for yourself after you close the cover.