A short conversation with Aria Ligi

Hammer of God was first conceived as I was writing a screenplay for a character whose personal angst was a kind of mirror to my own. Charlotte, who is the protagonist of the titular poem on page one and is referred to on page seven in the entitled poem Charlotte Dreaming, was raised in the backwoods of West Virginia by evangelical fundamentalist Christians. Charlotte though is different from all of them because she has psychic abilities which they construe to be gifts from the devil. It was from this premise, that I began a series of poems for her which then morphed and expanded from her personal pain to my own.

This divergence started with herself and stemmed outward, like the branches of a tree, from the father figure, Father Destroyer, (section two) to the Mother in Prime Mother, (section three). Sections one, two and three are the foundational sections not only for discussing pain but in that they ask pertinent questions regarding abuse, how women are viewed within the home environment and the muting of voices that so often occurs. Prime Mother takes this and then goes further, by looking at the consequences of abuse, unwanted pregnancy, the relationships between child and mother, by not merely addressing the emotional ones, but in terms of economic and physical survival. From this personal cocoon of inward inquiry, we then are taken out again, in Simple Blind, to view racial disparities, (outward pain). In order to give the reader a break from so much despair while not losing the thread, Ballet in Poesy has a mixture of pieces which are ethereal in quality, such as Faery Fluting.

Yet, there are still pieces regarding loss, such as Casting Cabal, and Carillion Call, that seek to give remembrance for those lost. Vesper Bell and all the poems in that section were inspired by the life of Lucrezia Borgia. At the time of writing, I was watching the Netflix series Borgias and reading several biographies of her. In conjunction with this, there were parallels between Lucrezia and myself which led me to write many of them, unearthing memories and trauma that had not been truly dealt with. The denouement of the book, Merrie Mount, leads the reader to a place of joy within the self, having wrestled with demons, those that manifest torturing the mind when it longs to sleep, and finding much-needed rest on the other side. For this, Hammer of God was written for survivors of trauma and is dedicated to one who sadly never made the journey herself. It is hoped that it will in some small way to help others to find their way home.

Hammer of God was written following the deaths of several family members. These events along with the political and racial turmoil that was starting to seep into the social landscape were a catalyst for this work. Hammer of God seeks to find solace through poetry by speaking in poetic form about a myriad of topics that were unearthed during this process. This includes abuse, rape, abortion, death, the killing of young black men, loss, and poverty, as well as healing within. The book begins with a chord of anger, with the titular work, Hammer of God, traveling through personal angst which then reaches outward to worldly considerations returning at the end, to a place of peace. This is rather akin to therapy in which the individual who seeks help is often distraught, but through inner reflection, finds solace in the process, and through it comes out on the other side, wholly changed, and often to such an extent, they are no longer the same.

About the Author

Aria Ligi is an award-winning poet who has been writing for over fifty years. She has a great love of history, and in particular, the English Romantics. Her work has appeared in October Hill’s Winter Issue, Fantasy Realm, Z Publication’s New York’s Best Emerging Poets anthologyLight Journal: the Australian Times, University of South Dakota’s Vermillion Literary Project, to name a few. She has been a frequent guest on Progressive News Network’s Blog Talk Radio and is the Senior Poetry Editor at October Hill Magazinehttp://arialigi.com/

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