About the Author

Naomi Chase is a poet, fiction, and non-fiction writer who has written five books of poetry, The Judge's Daughter, Listening for Water, Waiting for the Messiah in Somerville, Mass., Gittel: The Would be Messiah, A Novel in Verse; and, most recently, Anonymous Fox; two chapbooks: Stacked (illustrated by Jon Agee), and The One Blue Thread, Flume Press Prize Winner. And two non-fiction books, A Child is Being Beaten, Violence Against Children in America, and The Underground Revolution: Hippies, Yippies, and Others. An unpublished novel won the 1996 Hackney Literary Award for fiction.

She has written for the New York Times, The Village Voice, The Wall Street Journal, etc. Her short stories and poetry have appeared in Sojourner, Ploughshares, The Harvard Review, and Prairie Schooner, among others.

Her new poetry book, Anonymous Fox, was published byTurning Point Press in October 2009.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Gittel, theWould-Be Messiah


She hears it just before sleep.
The doll who cries Mama is gone.
Gittel kneels, searches under the bed,
rolls onto her back to see how a voice looks.

The voice asks:
What did you see?

"Soot from the world's corners,
metal from earth's core,
sweating like Jews in Egypt."

The voice says:
I am the thumb your doll sucks,
the itch between your thighs.

"And I'm a fool to listen while a devil speaks of thighs."

I like your impudence.
You are mine,
still to be written.

"Who wants a fool to serve them?"

I am what I am.

Gittel, the Would-Be Messiah: A Novel in Verse, Naomi Chase, Turning Point Press: 2005. Gittel is a comic and biting novel in verse that gives the life story of Gittel, a woman chosen by God to assume the mantle of the Messiah.

Blending the concision of verse with the fast pace and plot turns of prose fiction, Gittel “gives us a character so lively, so rambunctious, so splendid in her reasoning,” writes poet Denise Duhamel, that “this provocative novel in verse reads as a mock-biography. "Chase’s on-target wit and verbal agility do more than challenge religious iconography. These poems transform tender and vulnerable human emotions and lift them into the political."

A completely engaging book that spins in the whirlwind of the feminine psyche.”

“Always her words pierce me and cause me to see and hear,” writes Newsday columnist Jimmy Breslin.