Griffin Poetry Prize finalist Sandra Ridley offers a breathtaking, harrowing immersion in cruelty behind different veils: the medieval hunt, ecological collapse, and intimate partner violence.
Sparked by a haunting chance encounter with a fox, and told in six chapters of varying form, Vixen is as visceral as it is mysterious, sensuous as it is terrifying.
"Thicket" introduces us to stalking being akin to hunting; the similar threat of terror and—too often—a violent end. "Twitchcraft" locates the hunt in the home, the wild in the domestic, while "Season of the Haunt" explores the unrelenting nature of hunting. "Stricken" asks common questions that often implicitly justify such violence: Is the harassment ‘bad enough’ to allow us to label it criminal? Has all control been taken? Is the fear reasonable?
Vixen propels us to examine the nature of empathy, what it means to be a compassionate witness, and what happens when brutality is so ever-present that we become numb. This is a beautiful, difficult, wild tapestry of defiance and survival.