University of Nevada Press

Book Review :: A Sybil Society by Katherine Factor

A Sybil Society poetry by Katherine Factor published by University of Nevada Press

Guest Post by Jami Macarty

In Katherine Factor’s 2020 Interim Test Site Poetry Prize-winning A Sybil Society, ancient Greek meets textspeak to “tread the treat / trending” and “deliberates its digital” while invoking Ariadne, Pythia, Sybil, Joan d’Arc, and various other goddesses, saints, sisters, and witches. Factor’s is a matriarchal society, celebrating dissidents, “Assembled from the shattered” in order to “find the way back to daylight” (The Sybil to Aeneas, Virgil, Aeneid). There’s delicious revenge in the revisionist retelling of Greek myths of rape and dominance. In another way, the poems act as an erasure of the male point of view and bring to the foreground the female point of view—“we nippled thousands”—allowing those formerly relegated to the lower worlds to rise to the upper and speak. The poems are feminist, but not man-hating; there’s an “Elegy for a Satyr” to prove it! Factor’s is a poetry that strikes with the speed and charge of lightning. Ping, sting, and tingle. Afterward, a “flush and flow.” Yo, goddesses, witches, and sisters—behold, Katherine Factor’s poetic effort to rematriate!


A Sybil Society by Katherine Factor. University of Nevada Press, January 2022.

Reviewer bio: Jami Macarty is the author of The Minuses (Center for Literary Publishing, 2020), winner of the 2020 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award – Poetry Arizona, and three chapbooks, including Mind of Spring (Vallum, 2017), winner of the 2017 Vallum Chapbook Award. Jami’s writing has been honored by financial support from Arizona Commission on the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council, and by editors at magazines such as The Capilano Review, Concision Poetry Journal, Interim, Redivider, Vallum, and Volt, where Jami’s poems are forthcoming.

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