Lethal Theater – poems – Susannah Nevison

Lethal Theater
poetry, Susannah Nevison
Mad Creek Books, 2019


From rib to eye, Susannah Nevison’s Lethal Theater, a work imbued with strippage, weighs itself in revisited origins, devoured middles, and in finales released of their previous conclusions. Pain is a prisoner of the open field and ritual a transience that demands a before. This is a trembling but surefooted verse, touched by peace, and Nevison cuts word from the phrase of the stirred body and forms it as a thing a reader may or may not come to name. Is there a surrogate for death? Is there a god whose existence we should take personally? As a high-schooler, I spent a summer helping out at a local veterinary clinic, and there I held dogs as they were put to sleep. It didn’t always take. This collection starts with the line Consider the cell not as you see it / but as it comes to be. In the reading, I felt I’d been…brought. In further, I learned how a language can refuse deliverance, accept arrival, and facilitate release. We cannot know what death does with our waiting, but we can stand by the coeval art in Lethal Theater, and ask for a deeper light beside which we no longer claim spectacle by our watching alone.


reflection by Barton Smock


book is here:



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